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

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

Category: Movie Review

Subcategory: Psychology

Level: College

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

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

A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard is a 352-page addiction morality tale authored by Liz Murray and published by the Hachette Books in 2011. In this book, Murray presents her memoir in which she provides a detailed illustration of her experiences. Having been born of drug addicts, Murray had to contend with a life of neglect in which she ended up dropping out of school and becoming a homeless girl who had nowhere, but the street to call home. However, due to her resilience and focused, she later rejoined school and managed to secure scholarship to further her studies at the prestigious Harvard University. This paper presents a critical review of memoir and goes ahead to analyze its relevance to psychology.
Having spent enough time to go through this memoir, I would like to begin by expressing my satisfaction with it. Indeed, I liked A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard because it is an informative and educative publication that has a lot of lessons in it. As the author, Murray uses herself as an example of how an ordinary child can overcome all the challenges to make it eventually in life. The memoir does not just highlight Murray’s troubles but explains them in details. As a narrator, Murray presents a clear picture of the lifestyle and conducts of her parents who were real drug addicts. After giving in to cocaine and other forms of hard drugs, Murray’s parents could not give them the necessary care they deserved as parents. This is a clear demonstration of how drug abuse can be destructive to the users and household in general.
The other reason I liked the memoir is because it uses the protagonist to show how supportive the society should be to the drug addicts. Despite heavily engaged in drug use, Murray did not abandon her parents. She responsibly cared for them and accorded all the necessary support she could. As the title of the memoir illustrates, the author had to forgive her parents because it was a good thing to do. For instance, whenever her parents left home, she had to glue her eyes on the window the whole night to ensure that they were safe. Even if everyone expects her to hate her parents, she still shows them love and talks well of them. Her support for her family did not end with her mother’s death because she continued helping her addicted and HIV-infected father. All these indicate that drug addicts should not be left alone without family support.
The memoir is quite relevant to the lessons learned in this course. As a psychology class, we have learned much about mental illnesses. At least, now we know that there are a wide range of mental illnesses that cause problem to human beings. These include, but not limited to alcohol abuse, Acute Stress Disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Cannabis dependence, Anxiety disorder, Dyspraxia, Epilepsy, Autism, Hypochondriasis, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder and sleep disorder. The kind of behavior changes depicted in Jean Murray and her husband Murray clearly proves that they are suffering from a mental illness. The conducts of these addicts confirm their mental instability because it compelled them to forget about their parental responsibilities. Like addicts, they were withdrawn from the rest of the society thus could not engage in any substantial economic activity in support of their small family. Most of the times, they could spend the whole day looking for drugs wherever they could get them from.
In this regard, I agree that the author succeeds in portraying the real symptoms of addiction. As can be seen in the Murrays, addiction becomes a mental problem because it controls their lives. The physical, behavioral and emotional changes in them show that they suffer from a real mental disorder. From a direct observation on these addicts, it can be revealed that they have these symptoms: inability to deal with stress, confused, blaming, and loss of control over the amount and frequency of use, conversations dominated by using or drug/alcohol related topics, isolating, financial problems, missing important engagements, missing work and change in eating habits. Although she is a daughter to the addicts, Murray does not shy away from her role as a narrator. Instead, she boldly explains to the audience how the use of cocaine rendered her parents helpless and irresponsible to the extent that they could not do anything constructive. At one time, she says that her mother who looked like a “pale hamburger meat” could not even shoot up.
As an upcoming professional, I would like to commend I would like to commend for producing such an invaluable publication. Surely, A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard is a life-changing book. It has got important lessons that if applied, can help in making the society be a better place for everyone to live in. The most outstanding lesson s about the behaviors of Murray who proved that forgiveness and determination are keys key to success. Her role as a daughter can be relied upon as a teaching to everyone who has been a victim of mental illness. By fully caring for and continuously supporting her addicted parents, she teaches that there should be a family support to mentally-ill members of the society. Just like her, everyone should not be ashamed of their mentally-ill family members. Instead, they should always be close to them and offer them the necessary support that they require. Murray should be emulated because she cared for her parents until they died. At one time, she had to stop her studies at Harvard University to care for her HIV-infected father.
In conclusion, A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard stands out as a very educative memoir that has lots of lessons to everyone who is interested in knowing about mental illness as well as the challenges facing children in the society. Although she was a homeless girl from a very vulnerable family, Murray managed to overcome all her challenges by securing a scholarship and secured admission at Harvard University. Her love for her addicted parents should be used as an example of how family members should care for and support members of their household in case of such illnesses. Also, the school-going children should use her experiences to work hard and accomplish their goals no matter how challenging it might be. For this reason, I recommend the memoir to everyone who, like Murray, is committed to positively transforming the society.

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