Wednesday 26 June 2024

The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard

The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World TransformedThe Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed by Judy Shepard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 271

Publisher - Hudson Street Press

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

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.

My Review

I had heard of Matthew Shepherd before but only a little about what happened to him. This is written by his mum, she takes us over how she met his dad, their backstory and then onto Matthew. From birth until he was cruelly and horrifically taken from them.

We learn about Matthew as a child to early adulthood and mum goes into the troubles and mental health issues/difficulties he experiences and things he overcame. She takes us through how she found out Matthew had been hurt, the extent of his issues and the media frenzy that followed.

The court case I thought would have been more in depth however it isn't and focus is on her experiences. That being said we do hear about the assailants and what they did in the run up to, during and after the mindless violence they commit upon Matthew.

It is quite emotive, hard to read in parts (especially in the sections about what happened to Matthew), the book does cover some hard topics that may be triggering for some. Knowing what the book is about, homophobia raises its ugly head, assault, sa, violence but it also has resilience, love, strength and the love for Matthew is very evident, 4/5 from us.

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