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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2009 Judy Shepard (P)2009 Penguin
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By sherry on 08-10-12

Heart breaking story

Would you listen to The Meaning of Matthew again? Why?

I would listen to this book again and again. I found this story very sad, but the only way to change past mistakes is to find where we went wrong.

What other book might you compare The Meaning of Matthew to and why?

sadly to many.

What three words best describe Judy Shepard’s voice?


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

there is a movie about this story already. After reading the book its not the same as the movie. The movies are hardly ever same as the book.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By JPTurtle on 10-24-17

A compassionate take of a parent's pain

Judy Shepard walks us through the lead-up, the tragedy and the acceptance of an unbelievably painful point in time. We learn about the people, their actions, consequences and more as we relive details of life before, during and after one of the worst tragedies in the LGBT community. Compelling and whatever the equivalent could be in Audible-land for "page turning"!

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