The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: a Memoir

Brianna Karp
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Dec 29, 2015

Reading Brianna Karp’s memoir of losing her job, home, and family reminded me in many ways of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Except instead of embarking on a months-long solo hike, as Strayed did, Karp faces the challenges of living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot. With no water or electricity. Frustration at Brianna’s “unwise” choices (surrounding her involvement with a fellow homeless gent) is always followed by a heart-wrenching family story that would have left me a gelatinous blob.

Most compelling are Karp’s explorations of her own potential racism, degree of homelessness, family history, as well as the right of the homeless to experience joy. Raised a Jehovah’s Witness, Karp is very conscience of the programming that influences her behavior, often times against her will.

Readers who enjoyed Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle, David Pelzer’s A Child Called It, and Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’ will appreciate Karp’s triumph over adversity.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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