Wednesday, February 20, 2013

REVIEW: The Girl's Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp

TITLE: The Girl's Guide to Homelessness
AUTHOR: Brianna Karp
PUBLISHED: April 2011
GENRE: Memoir
WHERE I GOT IT: ebook borrowed from library

ABOUT: Brianna Karp had a terrible upbringing, abused both mentally and physically by both her parents, constantly under the scrutiny of a religion she no longer believed in and finds out she had two half sisters only after her father commits suicide. Despite all of that her life seemed to be going in a good direction, living on her own, having a job she loved and adopting her loving mastiff dog Fezzik. Unfortunately in 2008 the recession hit and she was one, like many Americans that could not escape the inevitable. She lost her job and had to give up her place and move back in with her mom and step father. This did not work out well for her and she soon found herself homeless. The only option left to her was to retrieve an RV that he father left her and begin living out of that.

EXPECTATIONS: I was browsing my library's online download center for ebooks to read and I felt like reading a memoir so I checked out that section and this book caught my eye. I have always had a roof over my head and never really came close to living on the streets so of course this book interested me. I can not even imagine what people living on the streets have to deal with day to day and especially not here in a Canadian winter! The title said it was a guide to homelessness so I thought it would give me some insight on how the homeless live and how they try to get off the streets. I was very disappointed that the book had little do with that.

WHAT I LIKED: I feel that the first part of the book was the most interesting. I found it interesting to learn about her background and a bit about Jehovah Witnesses. I really knew less about that Religion then I thought I knew. Sadly that is probably the extent of what I liked about the book, if you can really describe it as 'like' anyways since it was rather depressing.

WHAT I HATED: What I did not like was that the title was very very misleading. She did offer a few suggestions at the start but it quickly turned into a long story about her failing relationship with another homeless man from across the pond. There was no facts on homelessness, no information on how many are living on the streets or if the problem is getting worse or not.

I did however, change my view on homelessness a bit since before reading this I only visualized a person without a roof over their head needing to beg for change to buy food or other basic needs. I guess with anything, there are varying degrees of homelessness and obviously some people have it worse off then others. I think she was more lucky with what she had then other people because at least she did have some money and she did have a roof over her head.

I also didn't like that she mentioned a few times not being able to find an affordable apartment but was able to spend money on tickets to fly her boyfriend from Scotland not once bu twice to America to visit, stay at motels for weeks at a time, buy expensive presents and even borrow money to fly herself to Scotland. It just doesn't seem like a good use of her money considering the situation she was in.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I get that this is her memoir of her life and that this toxic relationship that she found herself in did play a big part at that time. I just think the name of the book was very misleading. I guess I don't really know how I would be if I was in a similar situation as her and maybe I do get that even though spending money to fly someone across the world and even go visit them might seem frivolous to me I can understand that when in the situation that she was in any connection with another human being you want to hold on to that as much as you can. I really hope that she finds herself in a better place, she sure hasn't had the happiest life up until that point.

RATING: 2 out of 5 stars

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