We cannot conceive of another’s reality, especially when we are young. Growing up in a safe household, I was insulated from the difficulties that some children, such as the author, encounter every day. Breaking Night is an autobiographical account of Liz Murray, who was born into a severely dysfunctional family. Her parents loved their daughters, but were consumed by an over-riding and consuming need for their drug-induced high. Liz was so protective of her parent’s safety that as young as 5 years old she watched over them preparing their paraphernalia and made sure that they didn’t hurt themselves in their eventual euphoria. The stress of this home life led to a life of school truancy and eventual homelessness at age 15. Her gritty account of several years on the streets of New York led to her discovery of an alternative high school which made all of the difference in her young life. She was able to pull herself together and begin the hard work of creating a stable life for herself and the family that remained.
This book was very reminiscent of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, not only in its basic theme of a child working through terrific difficulties, but the forgiveness and love the child still holds for her damaged parents.