Breaking Night

A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard

Murray, Liz

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Breaking Night
The memoir of a young woman who at age 15 was living on the streets but survived to make it to Harvard. Murray's story was featured in the Lifetime Original Movie "Homeless to Harvard."

Publisher: New York :, Hyperion,, [2010], ©2010
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780786868919
Branch Call Number: 921 Murra
Characteristics: 334 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Alternate Title: Homeless to Harvard


From Library Staff

"...the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping s... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 09, 2014
  • jenna_ann rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Even though the subject matter can be very difficult to read about, Liz Murray writes in such a way that I couldn't put this book down. Her love and perseverance is awe inspiring. Reading Breaking Night was like having a midnight chat with a girlfriend.

Sep 23, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is a must read! You will truly be inspired by Liz's greatness.

Jul 15, 2011
  • amielsparkles rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely amazing read.

Apr 26, 2011
  • shakey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The best book I have ever read!!! Liz Murray shared the front page of newspapers with the's 5 stars..

Apr 16, 2011

38th in line... The movie, Homeless to Havard: The Liz Murray Story also tells an amazing, inspiring life. I can't wait to read it!

Mar 09, 2011

Winner in the Inspirational Memoir category - Books for a Better Life

Feb 23, 2011
  • Algonquin_Lisa rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Liz Murray grew up the daughter of two crackhead drunks, but she didn't let that deter her from persuing her dreams. Out of her grim beginning came a determined woman who was ultimately admitted to Harvard. A memoir with no sense of self-pity. Good for anyone with an interest in the memoir, and for teenagers as well. It contains valuable life lessons about hard work overcoming a terrible childhood.


Add a Quote

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"In the years ahead of me, I learned that the world is actually filled with people ready to tell you how likely something is, and what it means to be realistic. But what I have also learned is that no one, no one truly knows what is possible until they go and do it."

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"I knew at that moment I had to make a choice... I could submit to everything and live a life of excuses, or I could push myself... I could push myself and make my life good..."

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"‎'Homeless person or business person, doctor or teacher, whatever your background may be, the same holds true for each of us: life takes on the meaning that you give it."


Add a Notice

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


Add Age Suitability

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

maria72094 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

Sep 24, 2011
  • maria72094 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Starred Review. From runaway to Harvard student, Murray tells an engaging, powerfully motivational story about turning her life around after growing up the neglected child of drug addicts. When Murray was born in 1980, her former beatnik father was in jail for illegally trafficking in prescription painkillers, and her mother, a cokehead since age 13, had just barely missed losing custody of their year-old daughter, Lisa. Murray and her sister grew up in a Bronx apartment that gradually went to seed, living off government programs and whatever was left after the parents indulged their drug binges; Murray writes that drugs were the "wrecking ball" that destroyed her family-- prompting her mother's frequent institutionalization for drug-induced mental illness and leading to her parents inviting in sexual molesters. By age 15, with the help of her best friend Sam and an elusive hustler, Carlos, she took permanently to the streets, relying on friends, sadly, for shelter. With the death of her mother, her runaway world came to an end, and she began her step-by-step plan to attend an alternative high school, which eventually led to a New York Times scholarship and acceptance to Harvard. In this incredible story of true grit, Murray went from feeling like "the world was filled with people who were repulsed by me" to learning to receive the bountiful generosity of strangers who truly cared.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Find it at CRRL