Saturday, May 14, 2011

(65)The Girls Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp

Brianna Karp has not had an easy life. I will not dispute that. She grew up in a strict Jehoveah Witness household, a religion she refers to as a cult. She was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused. In the tough economic climate that defined 2009, she was laid off and became homeless. Well, if you go by the most strict definition of the word. In reality she is a young, unemployed woman living in a 30 foot trailer that is parked in a Walmart parking lot. The Girls Guide to Homelessness is her tale of what her life as a "homeless" woman is like.

I have really mixed emotions about this book. It is really hard for me to have empathy for someone who calls herself homeless, yet has a roof over her head and a door that locks. Granted, there is no plumbing or electricity. To me it is a little more like "roughing it" than being homeless. It is also hard for me to feel empathy when I could see her choices lead her down a path that would only draw out her "homelessness". For example, flying her boyfriend in from Europe multiple times, giving him her laptop & buying a netbook herself. And yes I am including her entire relationship with that sleazeball, Matt. Oh & don't get me started on the whole Fezzik (her dog) situation. I nearly through my nook across the room at that point. I got a huge sense of "poor me, look at how bad my life is" and not enough "I will do ANYTHING to rectify my situation".

Bottom line, The Girls Guide to Homelessness, is one of those train-wreck type of books that you can't put down because you just want to see what happens next. Maybe it was her youth that kept her making stupid choices and kept her "homeless". Maybe it was her childhood issues and lack of a positive role model. Maybe it was a combination of everything. The Girl's Guide to Homelessness is worth the read, but be prepared to question the validity of the title. I know of a lot of truly homeless people who would give anything to be able to call a trailer in a Walmart parking lot "home." Maybe a title like "The Girls Guide to Bad Relationships" would be a more appropriate title.


Sara Bell said...

I do agree with your reasoning for the title, and I can't help but feel that way a lot. I knew a few kids who had already wracked up close to $50,000 in debt right out of high school and then blamed the economy when they couldn't move away from home by age 25. Sometimes the decisions other people make drive me insane...
but I'd still like to read this one simply because of the fact that we're about to move into our RV and travel the US!

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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