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The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformedby Judy Shepard
Synopses & Reviews
The mother of Matthew Shepard shares her story about her son's death and the choice she made to become an international gay rights activist
Today, the name Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but before his grisly murder in 1998, Matthew was simply Judy Shepard's son. For the first time in book form, Judy Shepard speaks about her loss, sharing memories of Matthew, their life as a typical American family, and the pivotal event in the small college town that changed everything.
The Meaning of Matthew follows the Shepard family in the days immediately after the crime, when Judy and her husband traveled to see their incapacitated son, kept alive by life support machines; how the Shepards learned of the incredible response from strangers all across America who held candlelit vigils and memorial services for their child; and finally, how they struggled to navigate the legal system as Matthew's murderers were on trial. Heart-wrenchingly honest, Judy Shepard confides with readers about how she handled the crippling loss of her child, why she became a gay rights activist, and the challenges and rewards of raising a gay child in America today.
The Meaning of Matthew not only captures the historical significance and complicated civil rights issues surrounding one young man's life and death, but it also chronicles one ordinary woman's struggle to cope with the unthinkable.
Book News Annotation:
This account of Matthew Shepard's murder in 1998 and the effect it had on gay rights and hate crime legislation is told from the viewpoint of his mother Judy, providing general readers insights into her loss, her legal battles against the murderers and her subsequent emergence as an international activist. The author describes Matthew's family life up until 1998 and then explores the media frenzy and public reaction to her son's murder. Shepard also discusses her battle to maintain the difference between her son as a person and her son as a modern symbol for gay rights. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The mother of Matthew Shepard, the young man murdered in 1998 simply for being gay, shares her story about her son's death and the choice she made to become an international gay rights activist.
"A courageous, eloquent, and devoted mother...gives us all a greater understanding of Matthew and the larger meaning of his life."
-Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Today, Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but until 1998, he was just Judy Shepard's son. In The Meaning of Matthew, Judy Shepard confides how she handled her crippling loss in the public eye, the vigils and protests held by strangers in her son's name, and ultimately how she and her husband gained the courage to help prosecutors convict her son's murderers.
Heart-wrenchingly honest, The Meaning of Matthew is an unforgettable and inspiring story, chronicling one ordinary woman's struggle to cope with the unthinkable.
About the Author
JUDY SHEPARD is cofounder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is dedicated to social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Shepard speaks across the country on behalf of the foundation.
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