The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed

The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed

by Judy Shepard


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452296381
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 215,803
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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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The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Medvegas More than 1 year ago
After spending over a decade in college studying every facet of human behavior, just when I feel that I am on the cusp of understanding why people do what they do, what their thought processes are in the perpetration of a brutal act, something else happens that completely throws my theory into chaos. Matthew Shepard, a lovable, mild-mannered, precious young man, just attempting to study at the University of Wyoming like so many other students looking for meaning and purpose in life, a place that is supposed to be synonymous with quite solace, natural rugged beauty, and the punctuation of fresh-fallen snow on a campus at 7,200 feet above sea level, was brutally killed in a crime of hate. A young man that was venturing out into the world, after being the victim of a sexual assault at a young age, trying to come to terms with his sexuality in a world where everyone is purportedly accepted regardless of their differences, and for which his very right to live amongst us as a free and equal citizen, praised so highly by the founders of our great nation, was taken from him in an instantaneous and violent act of hatred perpetrated by two other young men that most assuredly did not share is precious demeanor, nor had any regard for the life that they were about to extinguish from this earth. A "reverend" who considers himself an emissary from Heaven sent to earth to rid all of humanity from homosexuality (a normal and healthy variant of human sexuality, so much so that it was removed from the DSM-IV in the 1970s as a pathological condition) and his merry band of like-minded lunatics and hate-mongers, who spend their time protesting at the sacred and hollowed grounds of funerals, not allowing the victims of such crimes of hate, to grieve, breathe, or get any solace, exploit the opportunity found within law that allows such free speech to take place, turning love into hate, light into darkness, good into evil, and compassion into ugliness, warping the very essence of what God is, love, with such erudite and eloquent signs proclaiming, "God hates..." NO, God does not hate, He does not hate anyone for any reason, God is above this, and God does not share humanity's lust for hate, a human's capacity for relentless violence propagated by hate, which promotes more hate, ad infinitum on an endless feedback loop of ugliness, despair, hate, loneliness, and death. Matthew Shepard achieved in his short time on earth, more than anyone could have ever dreamed of, he stirred an awakening, a rebellion, a revolution, like so many brave patriots before him that fought, bled, and died for freedom and the right to live and be accepted, Mathew will do down in history, as he went down fighting, with every ounce of his being, his legacy, his memory, his pursuit to be accepted for who he is and not what society wants him to be, will be as such an inspiration and essential reading, as Tocqueville's "Democracy In America," the "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," and many countless others that have so greatly impacted modern America today. This book put forth by the fierce will of a mother searching to make sense of an insensible crime, to give a face to her beloved son, will ultimately result in a healing, as she may realize the long-lasting effect that her precious Matthew will have on society, hate crimes, and the whole world at large for years and generations to come. M
amygru More than 1 year ago
I Bless you!...I think it's wonderful to keep Mathew's legacy going! We should be way past that by now!
Brad77 More than 1 year ago
As with any story centering on a random, brutal act of violence, The Meaning of Matthew is profoundly tragic. However, if the death of Matthew Shepard had never taken place, we would be nowhere near as aware of the ignorance and insensitivity that the world continues to harbor towards not just homosexuals, but people whose lifestyles do not fit the accepted "norm." Matthew's story has triggered a vast diversity awareness throughout the world - and in that way, a sudden, heartwrenching death was made meaningful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember when this happen and how upset it made me. Judy done a really good job at writing this book. I'm normally slow at finishing a book but this one I was not able to stop reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes our lives take us on unwanted journeys. This is the story of not only Matthew Shepard, but of Judy Shepard. She was thrust unwillingly into the public spotlight, and realizing the power of media, she harnessed the energy to become a reluctant public figure. This book is impossible to put down, as you cherish every moment. Judy Shepard is a voice for many, and we cannot thank her enough.
sneros More than 1 year ago
I rarely read, however this book was amazing, such power for a family taken into a new world, with so much emotions. It really opened my eyes to the truth. This is a must read!!!
profilerSR on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The murder of Matthew Shepard gained worldwide attention in October, 1998 when two homophobic men tied Matthew to a tree, tortured and beat him, and left him for dead. Matt died 6 days later. His family has since become advocates for tolerance, and witnessed President Obama's signing of the Matthew Shepard Act, adding sexual orientation to federal hate crime law. Mrs. Shepard's book includes a brief introduction to Matt's life, the horrific story of their bedside vigil, and the maddening trial of the perpetrators of the murder. Shepard evokes the emotions extremely well, and presents an honest look at the complicated life and death of her son. Very difficult reading, but the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation in educating young people and promoting acceptance of all differences adds a hopeful note to the end.
bookalover89 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Without a doubt one of the most heart wrenching memoir I've ever read. I cried for Matthew and the people he loved the most. His life brutally cut short because of who he was. This is a clarion call for all of us. That hate needs to be replaced with love. EVERYONE should read this book!
labfs39 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I picked up this book at my local bookstore as I sat down with my tea to continue reading a book by Temple Grandin. The cover, with a picture of Matthew Shepard looking so young and innocent, caught my eye, and then I saw that the book was by his mother. Looking to occupy the time until I had to pick up my daughter, I opened the book to browse. Within minutes I flipped back to the beginning and began to read. A couple of hours later, I had purchased the book and was reflecting on how little we know about what we think we know based on media reporting.

In October 1998 Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming and beaten to death for being gay. Few Americans could avoid the media coverage of the horrible hate crime, not long after the dragging death of a African American man in Jasper, Texas. But despite all the coverage, my impressions of Matthew were rather flat and one dimensional. Judy Shepard's memoir of her son changed that. As Matthew's mother reminds us, Matthew was a human, not a saint, and not a stereotype. His life was complex but loving, and in writing the book, Judy Shepard conveys that in an honest, unpitiying way that drew me in and wouldn't let me go.

I would recommend this book to everyone as a reminder that we cannot let hate win, but must actively seek to counter it emphatically and with persistence.
Demert More than 1 year ago
Very good read. Judy Shepard does a wonderful does a wonderful job being the voice for Matthew and telling this tragic story.
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Janet Renfrow More than 1 year ago
This book is so beautifully written! I really could not put it down. I think everyone should read this book because it gives you a serious perspective to consider, that of a mother. I think this book has the potential to do so much good in the world, all you need to do, no matter your opinions on homosexuality, is pick it up and start reading. By the end you will feel like you have lost a friend you never got the chance to meet. Keep the kleenex close by!
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