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

Extended Audio Sample The Meaning of Matthew: My Sons Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed, by Judy Shepard Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (781 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Judy Shepard Narrator: Judy Shepard Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Both parents read in tightly controlled voices that are poignant and, by the absence of dramatization, tell a haunting story.”


  • Selected for the September 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Anna | 2/2/2014

    " This book was painful in the same way that Dave Cullen's Columbine was. The subject matter is heartbreaking and infuriating. However, Columbine was also very well written and myth-shattering. This one was neither of those things. I don't blame Judy Shepard for not being a good writer, as I doubt she ever planned to be one, but I wish she had written this with a someone else who could have helped her tell her family's story a little better. Mostly, I already knew the story. There were a couple of inaccuracies in the media's reporting, but nothing earth-shaking. The early chapters that talked about Matthew's life before the attack were the best, as they served to make him more real and three dimensional than the martyr he has become. Unfortunately, the rest was just another rehashing of the information that everyone interested in this story already knew. I also got the impression that Shepard is trying very hard to educate people about hate crimes and gay rights through this book. I felt I was definitely being "taught." The problem is, the kind of people who need her message wouldn't come near this book, so those who do pick it up looking for some new insight on Matthew's story end up feeling unnecessarily preached to. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie O | 1/31/2014

    " Currently moving pretty quickly through this, it is hard to read at times. I can only imagine how his family feels all of the what if's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mike/ | 1/27/2014

    " there are things in the book not generally known to the public that are not just surprising but also heart-wrenching; for example, his great-uncle walking into the church for his memorial service had a heart attack and died! the family didn't know about it until after the service. the firs 2/3's of the book really makes Matthew more human than image and the struggles that he went through explain a lot of why his story is so thought-provoking. the last part of the book winds down almost too quickly and is the only negative i have about the book. Judy Shepard has to be commended for putting this story to paper and make the title come true - The Meaning of Matthew. EVERYONE should read this book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carrie | 1/21/2014

    " This book was very well-written for a memoir. It is such a sad, sad story; I remember when this happened in 1998. It is interesting to hear the story from his mother's perspective. Such a heart-breaking, tragic event. I respected her for telling Matthew's history as truthfully as she could because the media painted Matthew as some heroic figure that was perfect and maliciously killed as a hate crime. When in reality, his mother showed that he was struggling with many different issues and didn't always make the best decisions. "

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