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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 Audiobook, 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: August 2009 ISBN: 9781101079485
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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.”

    AudioFile

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 1/16/2014

    " This book moved me to tears. Not many books can do that to me, but I cried for ages. On a more serious note, this book is extremely well written and so, so emotional, detailing the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Matthew. We must be thankful that we have someone like Judy Shephard writing such powerful books, because this is how the world will change, because it needs to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/14/2014

    " This story is just so sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Klapatiuk | 11/27/2013

    " This book has everything I want in a book, plus more! I cried and felt so much emotion through this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 10/30/2013

    " My heart was so heavy after listening to this audio book. I think it effected me more because I listened to Judy tell me the story of her son's death. Something that no parent should ever go through!! You don't need my words...listen to hers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chad Estrada | 10/6/2013

    " Very Heartfelt, honest, and enlightening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Winters | 9/28/2013

    " powerful, amazing, and emotional. Wow, this is a book that everyone needs to read. The painful journey of one family that led to a huge watershed moment in the Gay and Lesbian Rights movement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 4/7/2013

    " I will never understand homophobia nor do I think I ever will. Matthew had such a tragic life. I can't wait for the day when stories like this cease to exist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa | 3/7/2013

    " This book was very moving and taught an important lessen about the power of hate. I hope the everyone can get a chance to read this so that our world can have a greater power of love that overpowers hate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Nuber | 2/11/2013

    " Although such a heartbreaking story, it is well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michi Rosa | 10/7/2012

    " I had to stop reading it at least 4 times to avoid crying my eyes out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 9/3/2012

    " A honest biography about her son Matthew, what it meant to lose him, and how her coping is reshaping the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 8/17/2012

    " I cried a few times, but it was a great book! It was a devastating story told by the mother of Matthew. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luann Parkinson | 3/26/2012

    " Awesome book and awesome mother. Everyone can learn alot from Judy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori | 9/10/2011

    " Very simply and honestly told. From this mother's point of view, I found it very powerful and moving. May greater love and acceptance,and a change in hate-crime laws be Matt's legacy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 5/20/2011

    " This book interested me because I only knew in passing about what happened to Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. It's a good, important read for anyone who values human rights. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cyndy | 2/9/2011

    " I was a little disappointed in this book. It was incredibly sad. I just couldn't identify with the mother/author. She is the type who really holds her emotions in check, and that came across in the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 1/12/2011

    " I cried a few times, but it was a great book! It was a devastating story told by the mother of Matthew. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 1/4/2011

    " A honest biography about her son Matthew, what it meant to lose him, and how her coping is reshaping the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy-Diane | 10/22/2010

    " This is a tough eye opening read, made me so sad and furious. Hopefully, Judy Shepard's candid and raw account of her gay son's tragic death will shame bullies everywhere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jean | 10/6/2010

    " This was our first book club selection of the year because the author came to UNI. Heartbreaking story. There is too much hate in this world sometimes. Don't know what else to say. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shay | 9/30/2010

    " a powerful book. i am still figuring out all of my emotions surrounding the book but i definitely recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 6/26/2010

    " So powerful. I cried the whole time. "

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About the Author

Judy Shepard is cofounder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, named after her son and which is dedicated to social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. She speaks across the country on behalf of the foundation.