BN.com Gift Guide

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness

( 41 )

Overview

Brianna Karp entered the workforce at age ten, supporting her mother and sister throughout her teen years in Southern California. Although her young life was scarred by violence and abuse, Karp stayed focused on her dream of a steady job and a home of her own. By age twenty-two her dream became reality. Karp loved her job as an executive assistant and signed the lease on a tiny cottage near the beach.

And then the Great Recession hit. Karp, like millions of others, lost her job....

See more details below
Paperback (Original)
$11.78
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (84) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $6.29   
  • Used (73) from $1.99   
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - Original)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

Brianna Karp entered the workforce at age ten, supporting her mother and sister throughout her teen years in Southern California. Although her young life was scarred by violence and abuse, Karp stayed focused on her dream of a steady job and a home of her own. By age twenty-two her dream became reality. Karp loved her job as an executive assistant and signed the lease on a tiny cottage near the beach.

And then the Great Recession hit. Karp, like millions of others, lost her job. In the six months between the day she was laid off and the day she was forced out onto the street, Karp scrambled for temp work and filed hundreds of job applications, only to find all doors closed. When she inherited a thirty-foot travel trailer after her father's suicide, Karp parked it in a Walmart parking lot and began to blog about her search for work and a way back.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"I am an educated woman with stable employment and residence history. I have never done drugs. I am not mentally ill. I am a career executive assistant—coherent, opinionated, poised, and capable. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't have assumed that I lived in a parking lot. In short, I was just like you—except without the convenience of a permanent address." Brianna Karp's account of her journey through homelessness immerses us in a timely, relevant topic that all too many Americans know about first hand.

Publishers Weekly
In this candid and wickedly humorous memoir, Karp recounts her struggles of going from having a steady job to living in a trailer in a Southern California Wal-Mart parking lot in a matter of days. Raised in a Jehovah's Witness household, Karp endured sexual abuse from her father (who later abandoned the family) as well as mental and physical abuse by her mother. Despite this, as well as being forced by her mother to get a job at age 10, she excelled in school and had a well-paying job as an executive assistant when she was 22. But in the wake of the recession, Karp was laid off after TK years, and, unable to pay rent or stay with her mother and stepfather, had to live in a 30-foot trailer she'd recently inherited. Taking advantage of Wal-Mart's policy of allowing RVs and trailers to stay in their parking lots overnight, Karp "moved" to a parking lot, spending her days at Starbucks using the Wi-Fi connection to search for jobs. When a friend suggested blogging about her experience, she started www.girlsguidetohomelessness.com and connected with other homeless activists; soon, her story went viral. Karp's voice is instantly appealing, and her message that basic respect shouldn't disappear when you lose your home is a vital one. (May)
Kirkus Reviews

An inspiring memoir of the modern-day homeless person.

After managing to sail past her stormy adolescence, Karp forecasted blue skies ahead. But when the crippling recession hit, the author was laid off in a stroke of bad luck that left her homeless but not "hopeless." As a result, writes the author, she went from being an independent woman to a social outcast in a matter of mere months. She briefly found refuge with her mother and stepfather, but with a dysfunctional family tree rooted in incest, abuse and mental disorder, she swiftly returned to the streets. Karp ultimately found a haven in the 30-foot trailer she inherited after her biological father's suicide. But instead of wallowing, the author turned her hard luck into an opportunity to remove the negative associations from homelessness. Karp's language is direct and sometimes unsophisticated, but it keeps in line with the graphic nature of the text. Faith is no savior here; the author associates her rocky family dynamics with her upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, often referring to the religion as a cult. Karp's story reverberates with immediacy and honesty, and readers will be more than a little dismayed by the frightening notion that the author's fate could just as easily befall them.

A haunting personal story that gives a face and a name to homelessness.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373892358
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 359,520
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt

I'm trying to decide whether it's fair or not to say that insanity runs in my blood. Certainly it's a statement with which many of my family members would, shall we say, take umbrage. But I don't know that it's much of a stretch, from an outsider's perspective. I'm not talking about the kooky, madcap, adorably dysfunctional brand of crazy, either. The Moonstruck-style family with their over-the-top yelling and gesticulating, followed by reconciliations and hugs and kisses and banquet-reunion meals. The bighearted kind of crazy.

That's not my family. My lineage runs more along the batshit-fucking-nuts crazy train.

As you might imagine, this is enough to give a girl a massive mind trip. There's always that underlying paranoia—wondering whether I have miraculously broken the mold and escaped the curse, or whether the insanity is buried and brewing just below the surface, lying dormant and awaiting the inevitable breakout.***

I was born a fourth-generation Jehovah's Witness. There wasn't much choice in the matter. On my mother's side, the JW heritage goes all the way back to my great-grandparents—Polish immigrants to Canada who met on a bus one day in the early I900s, discovered they each thought the other looked pretty spicy and married a week later. Mary and TaTa Mazur would later convert to the "Bible Students," renamed "Jehovah's Witnesses" in I93I, and pump out nine devout Jehovah's Witness children up through the Great Depression, one of whom was my grandmother, Iris, the youngest and the black sheep and hell-raiser of the family.

The Mazur clan would later tell stories of their persecution as Jehovah's Witnesses during both world wars, including the ban on the religion in Canada from I940 to I943, when members organized an underground resistance. My grandmother would affectionately relate stories of her father's imprisonment when he was caught distributing JW pamphlets, only to find himself the first known believer to be thrown out of jail for singing religious hymns in Polish at the top of his lungs (and horrendously out of tune), distressing prison guards and inmates alike.

I know, I know, it all sounds very charming and "warms-the-cockles-of-your-heart" so far, doesn't it? Believe me, there are plenty more stories where those came from. JWs thrive on the martyr complex, since they believe that the Bible prophesied that members of the One True Religion would be greatly persecuted. Therefore, I've heard every variation of the chuckle-worthy tale in which oppressed Jehovah's Witnesses pull one over on their tormentors.

But.

My great-grandparents also claimed to be "of the anointed." In JW-speak, this means that they believed Jehovah God had spoken to them and revealed that they were among the elite I44,000 chosen ones, selected to go to heaven and reign alongside Him as kings once He brought about a prophesied New Order of Things. This new order, Jehovah's Witnesses believe, involves the brutal destruction of every nonbeliever at a bloody, apocalyptic Armageddon showdown, and the subsequent building of a Paradise Earth populated solely by—you guessed it—the rest of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the ones not chosen to reign as kings in heaven. They don't tell you this stuff on your doorstep, do they?

So. Two ancestors hearing voices and with delusions of kingly grandeur. Check.

My grandmother, Iris, despite a few young years of running wild, raising Cain and living something of a double life few Witnesses would have approved of, remains in the religion to this day. She attends a Kingdom Hall (JWs don't call them churches; they consider churches "pagan" and "of false religion") in California, where she moved and settled down with my grandfather, Jeremiah. They are now divorced, but he is also a Jehovah's Witness and lives a relatively sweet, unassuming life under the radar in Alabama with his second wife.

Iris Wallingford, nee Mazur, carried on the precedent of crazy and inflated it to (apologies in advance for the pun) epic biblical proportions. According to family lore, she abused her three daughters physically, mentally and emotionally. Legendary tales of her heaving vacuum cleaners through the air at their heads, dragging them along the hallway by their hair until it came out by the roots in clumps or grinding pencil lead deep into their knees as they squirmed and fidgeted during two-hour Kingdom Hall meeting sessions were a staple of my childhood. This is all, of course, merely what I've gleaned from multiple sources' whispered tales, including those of family members and friends…but do I believe there's at least some truth to it? Yep. All three girls were destined to run away from home at a young age. First Louisa, the eldest, split for Hawaii, followed by my mother, Linda, at age sixteen. Mom dropped out of high school, took her GED exam and lived on Oahu with Louisa (who had spiraled into drug use) for a year or so before returning to California. Charisse, the youngest, possibly had it the worst—she was afflicted with a severe, lifelong form of alopecia, which caused her to lose her hair and endure torment at school as well as at home. Upon leaving home, she searched for solace in the arms of men, hopping from one to another and sinking two marriages with kind, loving (and non-JW) husbands due to compulsive infidelity. As of this writing, she is imprisoned in Illinois for a period of twelve years, convicted of vehicular manslaughter committed while driving under the influence for the third time. I have not seen her in ages, but, according to family members, she has also had problems with illegal drugs for years and has been "disfel-lowshipped," or excommunicated, from the Jehovah's Witnesses at least twice. Her two young children are cared for by her non-JW ex-husband, so I hold out hope that they may yet have a quasi-normal life, despite everything.

My grandmother, meanwhile, spends most of her time in a rocking chair in front of the TV at home. Once a slim, lovely young woman with mischievous eyes who attracted men like flies to honey, she has ballooned to ghastly proportions and relies on a walker to get from place to place. Her house is in a condemnable, Grey Gardens state—decades of hoarded trash and junk piled from floor to ceiling, with the exception of walking paths hewn out from room to room. I'm pretty sure I've seen McDonald's containers in there dating back to the I960s. You think I'm kidding? In Iris Wallingford's warped mind, every bit of junk is a treasure or a memory to add to the magpie's nest. In the past, I have attempted to spend time with my grandma, but could only ever handle her in small doses, as her grating chief hobby is living in the past, reliving imaginary grudges and slights dating back some seventy-odd years. Many of these are against her own brothers and sisters, all but one already passed on—respect for the dead means nothing to her. She and my mother hate each other with a passion. Although they attend the same congregation, they don't speak, but always have an arsenal of nasty digs on hand ready to fling at the other. Despite Iris's extraordinary disregard for her own health, which would seem to invite the most massive heart attack in the history of heart attacks, my mother jokes grimly that Iris will outlive us all out of spite.

I tell these stories because I think it's important for me to establish up front, before I go into my own saga, that I believe I understand, or at least try to understand, why my mother is the way she is. For much of her life, she was indeed victimized—pair cult indoctrination from birth with unabated abuse by a bitter, raving 350-pound maniac, and you've got a recipe for disaster. To this day, I don't know exactly how much of my mother's own particular instability is a product of nature or nurture, but I've got my suspicions that one didn't exactly help the other.

Having returned from her less-than-successful jaunt to Hawaii, which left her broke and disillusioned for such a young kid, my mother endured a brief period of abuse again at home with Iris. At eighteen, by Jehovah's Witness standards she was actually an old maid, though she was young, lovely and vivacious—popular at school, something of a class clown in compensation for the dark home life of which she was so ashamed. She finally escaped (or so she thought) by marrying the first man she could at nineteen, and getting pregnant with me right away.

Bob Neville. Bob was not short for Robert. Just plain Bob. He was a gawky, scarecrow-esque kid a year older than my mother, most often said to resemble Peter Pan. He definitely didn't look like a monster.

Mom met him at the moped repair shop after an unfortunate accident in which a neighbor backing out of his driveway neglected to notice her coming up the street and ran over her scooter. She would later point out to me the hedge that had obscured the driver's vision: "If it weren't for that hedge, you would never have been born!" She would come to regret that damn hedge.

Jehovah's Witnesses don't date non-Jehovah's Witnesses, and they definitely aren't supposed to marry them. They view it as marrying a walking corpse—what's the point of falling in love with someone the great and powerful Jehovah is just going to roast with a flaming meteorite at Armageddon, anyway? Members can be privately counseled, publicly reproved, disciplined or even disfellow-shipped and shunned for pursuing a relationship with a nonbeliever. Ergo, Bob accepted a "Bible study" with my mother, toward the goal of conversion, and they married quickly and furtively. I was born March 6, 1985.

Bob turned out to be the classic wife beater, belying his sweetly youthful appearance. My mother claims that a week after their wedding, he woke her up in the middle of the night, accused her of cheating on him, bundled her into the car and drove her out to the desert in silence, pausing to open the door and shove her out into the sand, dumping her in only a T-shirt and no underwear. Then he drove home and went back to sleep while she walked until her feet were bloody, finally hitching a ride home from a concerned passing motorist and his wife around dawn. Other stories centered around the time Bob put my mother through a wall in their house, leaving a perfect Linda-shaped indent, and when he picked up a set of heavy stone coasters from the coffee table and started bashing his own forehead in during an argument until blood spurted and coated the furniture, all the while screaming at her as though bestowing an unavoidable curse.

"Look how much I love you! I'll even hurt myself for you! Look what you're making me do to myself! Look what you're making me do to you!"

I hurt you because I love you. Of course. It was a constant refrain of his, definitely not the most original line ever thought up by an abusive husband. Interestingly, it would turn out to be a recurring theme in my own life as well, that persistent, lingering stench you just can't get rid of no matter how hard you scrub.

My mother became pregnant again with my little sister, Molly, mere months after my birth. My sister was born on May 7, 1986 with a congenital defect requiring open-heart surgery, which set the local congregation elders in a tizzy. At that time, only a handful of infants had ever received bloodless heart surgery, and Jehovah's Witnesses apply the archaic biblical command to "abstain from blood" (Acts I5:29) to the ultimate possible literal interpretation—blood pudding isn't the only no-no! The command was previously misapplied to organ transplants, considered cannibalism, for many years. However, "new light" from Jehovah eventually revealed to the old men in the head honcho seat in Brooklyn, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, that—oops!—organ transplants (and later blood fractions, though not whole blood itself) were OK after all. Sorry about all those faithful Witnesses who died (or allowed their children to die) under the "old light," folks. Move along, nothing to see here.

At the time of my sister's birth, however, even the use of medical treatments utilizing blood fractions, such as plasma, albumin, immunoglobulins and the like, were not an option for members (they didn't become a "conscience matter" for Jehovah's Witnesses until I989, when Molly was three years old), and my mom, barely more than a kid herself, was beset upon by elders waving power of attorney forms in her face. Molly's primary hospital insisted that she required a blood transfusion, and that they were prepared to go to court to seek and enforce an injunction making sure she received it. The circus reached its peak when my mother snatched my little sister from the local hospital and took her to Texas, where Dr. Denton Cooley, the world's foremost "blood-free surgeon" (and at the time, one of only two in the United States who performed such procedures on children), completed the two operations that would save Molly's life and leave her with her two scars: a thick, ropey one all the way down from sternum to belly button, and a thin crescent-shaped one under her left breast, toward her armpit. Though only a year old at the time, I distinctly recall the sight of my frail, emaciated sister in a hospital crib, wailing, covered in tubes and surrounded by stuffed animals my mother purchased for her. Her crib and hospital apparatus were all covered in large stickers bearing the words "Jehovah's Witness—No Blood!" Moll's recovery and success story were heralded by Jehovah's Witnesses everywhere as a triumph of Jehovah over Satan, and proof that their religion's ways were the best after all.

Though Mom attempted to escape her abusive marriage, however, the congregation elders were having none of it. Despite the angry bruises and welts covering her from head to toe, and an "unpleasant incident" in which Bob leaped up on the hood of our van in the parking lot of the Kingdom Hall (in front of dozens of witnesses) as my mother attempted to flee and I screamed in confused terror in the backseat, they advised her to "wait on Jehovah, be a better wife and perhaps things would get better." Divorce is scripturally prohibited for Jehovah's Witnesses, except in the case of adultery. Even abused spouses are advised to remain in their dead-end marriages and "set a good example" for their abuser, "that he might be won over without a word." (Read: Maybe if you're really, really nice to him, he'll realize what a jackass he's been, feel sorry and repent. Even if it takes a decade or three.)

And, they said, if he did kill her, as he threatened and she feared, she would be resurrected to Paradise. God would fix everything eventually. Just not right now.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Exhausting Yarn: Will Appeal to the Self-Help Set

    Here is my summary of the key themes in this book: dysfunctional childhood, physically and emotionally abused by mother, broken family, forced to work (slavery), disavows religion, rape, incest, homelessness, laid off, serial unemployment, loses apartment, unemployment checks don't arrive/challenges bureaucracy, unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, death of parent, disowned by parent, locked out, locked in, trailer/car towed, takes job at shady company, loses job at shady company, stopped by police, dated a married man with pregnant wife in a foreign country, married-man-boyfriend promises to leave wife/marry her, has menage a trois, jilted by same man, almost freezes do death, scheduled to go on national TV/clothes don't fit. Wow. If you are still inrigued, you will love this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2011

    what a let down

    i went into this book with high expectations and by the middle of the book was forcing myself to finish it. after more anecdotes about her cyber love affair with a middle aged european, daily trips to starbucks and finally collecting her unemployment checks, only to fly this anonymous lover to the front door of her trailer i was disgusted and through. as a young girl who was abused by both her parents and then subjected to homelessness after a situation very similar to Karp's (which was why i thought i'd love the book so much) i find this story incredibly hard to relate to and sympathize with. not only was she fortunate to have a place to live and not pay rent, but she also afforded day to day luxuries most people with "homes" can't afford. then, once she receives the government aid our taxes paid for she only proceeds to use it as a ticket to chauffeur herself a blind date with this european, find out he's gotten another woman pregnant and continue to rent out a hotel for a month so she can phuck him every day.
    what a let down.
    i think it's time i started my memoir i've so long put off, because this isn't a story of homelessness at all, but more of a tale of inconvenience and poor judgement.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Homeless or just roughing it?

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2011

    The Author Made a Lot of Poor Choices

    This book is not about homelessness so much as it is a chronology of the author's poor judgment. She lived in a trailer in a parking lot, which I was willing to count as a homeless, until she started flying her "boyfriend" in Scotland to the US and renting motel rooms. Like other readers, I wondered if parts of the book were either fabricated or grossly exaggereated. For example, how believable is that a woman who tells us over and over that she is hip, responsible, and street smart could make a "surprise" visit to her boyfriend and then wait for him in a blizzard? Did she expect him to sweep her off her feet? It was pretty obvious that he was living with another woman and trying to ditch her. The author seems pretty entitled and has aa supremely high opinion of herself. She describes herself as a "career" executive assistant (at age 24!), "college educated" but doesn't tell us where she went to college, what classes she took, or what degree she earned. I laughed out loud when she said (several times) that such and such job didn't pay "industry standard"--i.e. the $50K she said she was pulling down as an executive assistant at Kelly Blue Book. This is not a typical salary for a 24 year old with little experience and no bachelor's degree. I find it interesting that at almost every job she was "running the place" within a week but then ran into problems. also, despite starting new jobs, adjusting to a new commute, new position, etc. she still finds plenty of time to stay up late to social network, blog, and carry on a long distance relationship. OK . . . Weird if you ask me. Also,did she really have to tell us so much about her sex life, past and present? I felt uncomfortable reading her description of her lesbian encounter in a three-way. The book, incidentally, is well over 300 pages long. It needs serious paring down. I also think it would benefit from some fact-checking. A lot of what she tells us doesn't seem plausible and she NEVER--and i mean NEVER--allows that someone else might have a completely different view of what happened. She always has the last word.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2011

    Pathetic & a total waste of time

    The book didn't start out well and I kept thinking it would get better, but it just kept getting worse. This chick can convince herself that she is intelligent, but if this book is non-fiction (as it claims to be), she is a dimwit at best. Who would go sleep in the snow in a foreign country and wait for some guy who has already proven to be a total loser? Besides wasting my $$$ & time on this book, I was most angered by her mistreatment of Fezzik, the dog. Pets are optional. She neglected him and allowed him to be abused (nearly starved -- in her own words) in favor of her Starbucks & sexcapades. Sad thing is that she's raking in the bucks off this piece of garbage.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2011

    These were tough times.

    After surviving an abusive and ultimately suicidal father and a mentally ill mother, Karp finds herself kicked out of her mother and step-father's home, jobless, and homeless as a very young adult. With the company of her dog, Fezzik, Karp turns away from her Jehovah Witness upbringing and her family and moves into a trailer that she had inherited from her father's estate with no money, no plan, and nowhere to park. Thus begins her story of survival. At the urging of a friend, Karp begins to make an online blog about her plight. The blog is still alive and Karp regularly posts, as of this review, for readers who are looking for more information or follow-up to the book. Tragic, moving, and at times with poignant realizations about humanity and our capacity to survive the multitude of unfortunate situations that shape the lives of adults, Karp's story will both pull at a readers heart strings and infuriate them at the same time, much like Pelzer did in A Child Called It. Karp's first novel is as much about Karp finding closure with her family, her religious upbringing as a Jehovah Witness, and her subsequent first male relationship, as it is a book about being homeless. Sometimes the writing is a bit disjointed, at times somewhat he said/she said without a glimpse of objectivity, but I think most readers will be drawn into the pure emotion with which Karp writes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2014

    This book is a page turner!  Though some of the events in the me

    This book is a page turner!  Though some of the events in the memoir were difficult to believe,
    and the title is a little misleading, I found the character building fantastic.  I really cared about the protagonist
    and what would happen to her.  I couldn't put it down.  It is well-written, concise, and interesting.
    In the love affair, it did become very Harlequin, thus she found the perfect publisher.  
    It reminded me of morning pages, written to cleanse the soul.  A little more attention could have been given to her actual homelessness situations, but for me, as a good read, it was exceptional.  Thank you Brianna!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Misleading

    The author doesn't explore the topics of homelessness, being a homelss woman or even rv living. Had I know the whole story was about her landing a book deal and supporting a man, I would have stuck to the blog and saved myself the money. I stopped reading half way through.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Droll

    Kind of boring but very interesting

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Highly recommended - must read!!

    I have just finished reading this book and I absolutely loved it!! It is a delightful, yet frightening, memoir of what can happen to anyone who, through no fault of his own, suddenly finds himself unemployed and precariously close to becoming homeless. Certainly, Brianna made a lot of mistakes along the way, but, like most of us, this was a totally new and unique experience for her; she did the best she could to cope with a desperate situation. Brianna Karp is a very gifted writer, and I hope we will be hearing more from her. It would be nice to have a sequel to this book sometime in the future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Insightful, smart, sensitive, terrific!

    Every college graduate should read this book, then go out and demand that the U.S. Government work for the 99% of the American people instead of the 1% who run the Corporatocracy. This is the story of a girl who is victimized by a social system that does not care about its young people, except to consider how they might be sold something.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2011

    Loved it

    This book was great! No, it wasn't exactly what I expected and the author is not what you think of when you think of "homeless" but it is still a great read. It was easy to read, entertaining and I learned a lot - all the things I am looking for in a book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    I call bullsh**

    I thought this book had a great start but slowly started to annoy me once we read more about the author's homelessness. Not only did she continue to stay with her mother after an entire childhood of emotional and phsyical abuse but her homelessness was a result of bad financial decisions- not something I can feel for. She made 50,000 at 24 years old but couldn't afford her rent immediately after losing her job? She "had" to move back in with her phsyicall and emotionally abusive mother- and just seemed to take it- instead of finding other options? She then goes on tangents about how homeless people are not lazy and often have full time jobs- except, she does have a home. She is not living on the streets. She is living in a motor home, affords a gym membership, gets wireless internet from Starbucks, and has a job. Only a complete moron with no common sense is homeless in that situation- which apparently she is, seeing as she falls in love with a person she's never met, completely believes everything he tells her- including that the "condom broke", proceeds to blame the girl and not the guy, and spends her money on plane tickets. As someone who just went to Hawaii a year ago and saved almost 2,000 for it, I know how much that would cost. A smart, not stupid person, might actually save that money and put it towards a rent-fund. Why exactly should I feel sorry for this person? She had a job, was clean, well-fed, boarded her dog, and then dares to speak for homeless people- many who have mental issues and are forced to the actual streets. Ugh- liberal bullsh**. She makes excuses for herself instead of working on the problems she's facing. DON'T BUY!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2011

    Not a great book

    I was disappointed in this book. Read the whole thing but it was a chore.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is my favorite book! I cant beleave the reviews!

    Brianna Karp is a very talented writer. She makes the charcters in the story come to life. This book is very sad yet it was sharp, honest, and ranges through emotions. Her decisions she makes are shocking and so is the life style she grew up in. Some parts of the book gave a little to much information, it made me upset in the end. But this is a truely amazing book I will never forget.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    Intriguing and insightful.

    This book is about Brianna Karp and her story of being a homeless person in America. It starts off with Brianna explaining a little bit about her life prior to being homeless. She also goes into some detail about how she grew up in a abusive household which she contributes to her family being Jehovah Witnesses. Brianna then explains how she had a good job that she loved but because of the recession she was let go. Then not being able to find work she went back to live with her family. When that didn't turn out well she found herself homeless. A friend then suggested that she start a blog about her story and she did.

    She then just explains how she lived as a homeless person and the things she did to survive. She explains how she met a guy over twitter and their love story. How the media found out and how she dealt with that. She then explains how she dealt with an unforeseen situation. The book then is a little reflective and then ends.

    I have to say that I enjoyed this book but I got the feel that either she wasn't completely honest or it was just made up at some points. It just didn't have the ring of truth to it. She makes herself out to be the one who is always hurt by people. She makes herself out like she doesn't do anything wrong and that she always is thinking level headed and speaking the same. She also explains how people judge homeless people and its not right. I understand that the homeless need a way for prospective employers to call and a computer will help with finding jobs, but she goes on and on about how its basically a home right to have these things. Then she tells us about how hard it was to not have money but she afforded 3 transatlantic plane tickets for her boyfriend and one round trip on for her. I understand everyone wants to have a little fun and be with the person they love but to me this just seemed a little excessive.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 9, 2011

    Upper+turned+downer%21%21

    In+my+19+years+working+with+homeless+individuals+I+never+had+the+opportunity+to+work+with+anyone+who+had+assets.++Bri+does+a+very+respectable+job+in+helping+to+shed+light+on+another+aspect+of+homelessness.++May+more+of+my+clients+find+themselves+so+fortunate%21%21%0A%0A

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book!

    This is one memoir that had me not only mad, but sad through out the whole book! I felt for Brianna right away. I know people have tough life's, but this point in Brianna's life was really difficult. Some of the things she went through really wanted me to slap some people and put them in line. How Ms. Karp manage to keep her head on straight and look forward is only by God's grace.

    This memoir is down right real and not happy. Some of things she went through was tough to read. Most of the time I was reading this book I had to shut my eyes and count to 10. Literally. I was so upset and angry at the things she went through. As far as a teen reading this, I would not recommend for a younger teen to read this. 18 yrs and older, yes. Some things in this book is too graphic for a young teenager to read.

    No matter what Ms. Karp went through, she surpassed it. I admired her for that. And it just goes to show that if she can go through all that she went through and come out still strong, you can do that same thing too. Ms. Karp is a great inspiration. She was beaten down, lied too, abused and mistreated, yet she did not let anything or anyone bring her down. To me, no matter if she leaves in a home or not, she made it. And no one can tell her otherwise.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What is homelessness?

    I have to tell you upfront that Brianna Karp's book The Girl's Guide to Homelessness is a memoir. Really. If it was fiction, I would have said that the author was really stretching the bounds of believability. Karp's story is real.

    Brianna Karp is a third generation Jehovah's Witness. She started working at age 10. She has survived violence, abuse and poverty for most of her life. She had finally made it - a good job, a tiny rental home, a pet (a giant Mastiff) and was finally living the life she had always dreamed of. When the recession hit, she lost her job, ran out of benefits and had trouble finding another job. She was forced to move back in with her mother. (I can't even begin to describe this women - you have to read it yourself) She receives a call and learns that she is the next of kin for the biological father she hasn't seen in 20 years. He's killed himself. His legacy? Brianna inherits a trailer. And that trailer becomes her home when her mother kicks her out. Her new address? The corner of a Walmart parking lot. She's just 23 years old.

    Karp begins to blog about her experience and it takes off from there. I'm not going to give away any more of her story. It truly is a shake your head unbelievable story.

    At first I thought the book would be more of an 'insider's' look at being homeless. It is to a certain degree, but it really is about Karp's life. I honestly couldn't book the book down. Her writing is raw and honest. My reactions ran the gamut from anger, shock, sadness and joy as Karp bucks the odds, keeps plugging away and triumphs.

    I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Brianna Karp - I'll be curious to see where life takes her next. And The Girl's Guide to Homelessness will without question have you rethinking your definition of homeless.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Girl's Guide to Survival

    The Girl's Guide to Homelessness is a memoir of the young author's life thus far. Hers is a story of abuse, abandonment, rejection, and loneliness, yet despair only rarely fits. She is courageous in the face of pending homelessness and even reaches out to others during this difficult time. Ms. Karp quickly becomes an advocate for homelessness and meets many other people doing the same. One of them is Matt Barnes, a one-time homelessness advocate who also blogged. His site is now gone. Theirs was a whirlwind romance that collided one Christmas day.

    Ms. Karp's story is more than a failed romance. She starts her story at the beginning of her memories and takes the reader on a sordid tale of emotional and physical abuse. Raised a Jehovah Witness in a home with a mentally ill, abusive mother, Briana should have become a statistic. The abuse was random and full of rage. Her mother's religious values were warped and she often dogmatically "ruled" the house. Briana's younger sister was spared the mother's wrath. Briana took her sister's punishments as well as her own. This caused great damage and the two sisters still lack any real relationship.

    Briana loses her job, money runs out and like so many others in 2008, lost her home. She initially returned to her mother's home and everyone resumes their previous family roles. One day her mother, full of spiteful rage, accused Briana of all sorts of lies and then throws her out of the house. Briana's savior of sorts was her absentee father. Years earlier he had killed himself, leaving Briana his worldly possessions, including a camper RV with a truck to tow it. Her home was now located in the far parking lot at a Wal-Mart store, until she moved it to a friend's ranch. The book goes into great detail of that life, and Briana's thoughts, has she tried to live the life of a homeless person, blogging it into cyberspace along the way.

    I found the book interesting, compelling, and heart-breaking. It was also an emotional rollercoaster. Parts of the story angered me, thinking at times that Briana's story had to be at least partially contrived. She works at Disneyland and drives herself there - at age 12. More outrageous - her mother insisted her daughter work (though mom did not), and taught her to drive because mom was tired of driving her daughter to school and work. Briana took care of schools of Koi at the Disneyland Hotels and performed shows when people gathered around the fish. At age 12, she did this, and not one single soul noticed something was a bit off?

    Well, there is a lot of things to talk about with this book but the main subject and the one that Briana Karp wants everyone to talk about, is homelessness. When Briana was homeless she lived in her father's RV (small, cramped, pulled with a truck), until Wal-Mart towed it out of their parking lot (along with several others). Then she lived in a friend's trailer on the friend's farm in California. While living there she took a trip to Scotland and became stranded and homeless there, nearly dying in the freezing weather. When found outdoors, the police took her to the hotel she no longer had money for and the owners allowed her to stay "indefinitely." Months later she returned home and set up house in another trailer on her friend's property.

    Briana's homeless adventures really beg the question, was she ever really homeless? She had a roof over her head every night and a bed to sleep in. The RV

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)