My thoughts on this book... It's a hard thing to really say. At the moment my emotions are all over the place and I feel like my review needs to be something... something special. But I know I will not be able to write a review to do justice to this beautiful book written by one of the strongest women. Judy Shepard has given the world something and it should be shared and cherished. She gave us an insight on the life of her beautiful son who was murdered.
I have seen the movie and read articles on Matthew. But this book is written by his own mother. It shows us who Matthew was, not who people wanted him to be. This book did not talk about a perfect gay person. It did not feed us about how wonderful he was and how gay he was. Judy has given us Matthew. Not her son. Most of us who read this will never have the privilege to meet Matthew. But from reading this, I know Matthew did not go through life as a gay person. No. He was a son, a brother, a grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend.
The Meaning of Matthew broke my heart. Reading this was like going through it all with Matthew's family. I found myself getting emotional when I heard about the sensitive little boy he had been. And I found myself just as emotional when I read about his struggles. The sad truth is Matthew was a boy who was lost. His journey was one that was not easy. It was fraught with hardships that would bring anybody down. Not all of it could have been help, but the majority made me wonder... I will not go into sordid details. But I will say it has left me with a question and I wonder if others will feel the same way.
Judy does an excellent job of telling their story, Matthew's story. It's not about glamourising things. It's about setting the story straight and giving people hope. The way her son died was not only brutal, but it was an act of pure hatred and evil. There are no words that could describe this act accurately. Matthew's story is shocking, but he was not the only person murdered for being gay. This book also shows us how Judy came to realise this, and what made her decide to take a stand and fight. We all need someone to fight for us. She is the one fighting for LGBT people.
The most poignant part of this story, in my opinion, is Denis, Matthew's father, speech in court. He did a wonderful job in putting the message across. I believe it must have taken a lot for him to stand up and talk about his son the way he did... It simply blows me away and I wonder if I would have had his strength. Both of Matthew's parents did their best, but in the end, this shows your best, is not always enough. It's sad, but this story does show us this. It also shows us how much love is in the world. Although, we might not always experience that love.
My final words... Matthew was a boy who was taken from the world far too soon. His struggles and battles are real. People still face the same prejudices and are still murdered and tortured for being who they are. But Matthew faced a lot in his life, and this young man was flawed. But in no way did he deserve to meet the end he did. Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves to be murdered in such a horrific way. It is just unbelievable to me that anyone could be as evil as the men who took this beautiful young man from the world.
I must say that this book should be read by as many people as possible. It might just open people's eyes.