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The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  2,122 Ratings  ·  473 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2011)
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May 08, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
I tried so hard to give the author the benefit of the doubt. I really did. Bottom line is that I think Brianna is on the road to being gifted writer who will write very well when she has more experience. This is not a criticism by any means. She is articulate and precise in her ideas.

My overall feeling of the book, though, is that the book itself is based on Brianna's reality and not on truth. I also felt like she spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince the reader that she was righ
Aug 29, 2011 Honey-Squirrel rated it it was ok
The first half of this "memoir" is strong and searing, recounting a seemingly smart girl's coming of age in a dysfunctional family and her determination to survive and break free. The author's work ethic, compassion, and commitment are admirable.

However, the second half of the book, detailing her life in a trailer and her relationship with a homeless Scot, reads like an anti-feminist roadmap of bad decisions. Though the author had access to both a therapist and advice columnist, readers are left
Miranda Beverly-Gill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anita Dalton
This? This is not a guide to homelessness. It's a revenge novel. And there's nothing wrong with revenge novels. Djuna Barnes, D.H. Lawrence and Leopold Woolf all penned revenge novels and no one holds that against them. Sometimes you just gotta unleash on those who may deserve it. It's just best to be honest about one's motives. For example, if one is getting revenge on a bad boyfriend, abusive parents, a weak stepfather and a shitheel who tricked you into paying for many expensive gifts even th ...more
Ashley Mackler-Paternostro
I read about The Girls Guide To Homelessness in PEOPLE magazine and was looking forward to picking it up. The idea, I thought, was interesting enough and the book was made to sound like it would be quick read. I finished the book in a single night, mostly because I couldn't wait to write this review, but felt in order to do so, I owed Brianna a fair shake at things.

This book should have been have been written in three parts: Belief, Suspicion of Disbelief and Total Disbelief.

I harbored a feeli
Fred Sandford
Jul 20, 2011 Fred Sandford rated it did not like it
Can't remember where I first heard about this story - probably read about it online. It kind of sounded intriguing, so I figured "what the hell, I'll buy the book and support this gal."

What started off as a fairly well-crafted, believable narrative quickly devolved into the kind of drivel that teenage girl novels are probably made of. Seriously. Pieces stopped fitting together. Stuff stopped making sense. The whole tone became really melodramatic... and THEN we're introduced to the boyfriend - t
Jess Kerschbaumer
May 19, 2011 Jess Kerschbaumer rated it did not like it
I was kind of disappointed with this book overall. Instead of being a interesting read into the life of a homeless girl, it ended up being a one sided tell-all drama fest about her whirlwind internet relationship that turned into a horror story. Not really at all what I was expecting, or *wanted* to read in the first place. On the positive side, it was interesting and well written enough to make me want to keep reading and find out how it ended. I saw huge red flags right from the beginning of t ...more
Not good. Also, not about being homeless. It's about having an ill-advised and ill-fated long distance relationship with some dude from Scotland. For whom she regularly bought plane tickets, btw. I'd say 50 percent of this book is Karp chastising her readers/the public for being judgmental about other people's choices and circumstances. And the other 50 percent of this book is Karp describing the cringe-worthy choices she made, most of them centered around the Scottish guy. (I guess there's a fa ...more
May 31, 2011 April rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir by Brianna Karp

I have heard a lot of buzz about Brianna Karp’s The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness so I was very excited to be able to read a prepublication of it. Unfortunately I was disappointed with this title.

Ms. Karp is very angry in the book. And yes, she has many things to be angry about – a violent childhood, a horrible father. After she loses her job she really does not have the opportunity to move in for a lengthy stay with her parents. Ms. Karp
Oct 08, 2014 MeggieBree rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
You know, I loved the idea of this book. I loved that someone was writing a book to bring awareness to the epidemic of homelessness. I loved the idea that this book was bringing to light the fact that homeless people are not all addicts or mentally ill, that a few wrong choices in an otherwise completely "normal" existence could end your life as you know it. I did not, however, love this book.

The author was in her twenties when she wrote this book, and it shows. I felt empathy for her, if only b
Tempe Lohmeyer
Aug 20, 2011 Tempe Lohmeyer rated it it was ok
The title to this book is misleading or perhaps I read more into what I had hoped the book would be about. I really wanted this (as did the author, I believe) to be about putting a face and an inside look at the working "homeless." To some extent, Brianna Karp does this as she walks us through how she learned to live in the Walmart parking lots for free, shower with a $10/month gym membership, and job hunt at Starbucks that offer free internet. But mostly the book is a memoir of an abused child ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Lexxie rated it liked it
Fun read simply because of all of the interesting drama conveyed in the plotline (it's pretty girly, lot's of romance), but not what I was expecting. It gave some insight into how one falls into homelessness, the community one might find in homelessness and the creative ways in which one can survive. But all in all, the book was a drama, focussed more on the main character's personal relationship than her homelessness as an independent woman.

It was simply written and a very easy and fast read.
Steven Belanger
Jun 07, 2013 Steven Belanger rated it really liked it
Very odd but very readable memoir that starts off as the story of Karp's extremely messed-up family (she has a few memoirs still left in the tank on this alone). But it then becomes the story of the unfortunate decisions she makes as she looks for love in all the wrong places. The publisher is Harlequin, so I suppose this makes sense, but the story arc still comes across as schizophrenic. The best (as in, well-written) parts are the details of her father's sexual abuse and her mother's mental, e ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
May 01, 2011 Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it really liked it
"The review for this is going to be hard to write" is what I wrote immediately after finishing the book. I have had a few days to digest it now but I am still unsure how to address my thoughts.
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness is a memoir from twenty something Brianna Karp. Abused and neglected as a child by her bipolar mother, Brianna grew up in a dysfunctional Seventh Adventist family. Despite her truly shocking childhood circumstances, Brianna establishes herself as an independent adult, until
Sep 04, 2012 Traci added it
OK, full disclosure first. The version I was trying to read was an Advanced Uncorrected Proof. So perhaps some of the problems I had with this were fixed before the final, official version. But I sort of doubt it. And yes, if you read all that carefully enough, you'll know the second thing I'm going to say...

I couldn't finish this.

This is upsetting to me on several levels, the main one being that while helping choose selections for my library system, I saw the professional reviews on this title
Oct 17, 2011 Sharina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone with a brain who reads this book and thinks for a moment this author is playing with a full deck needs to have their own head examined. This book is not about homelessness. Forget the argument about whether or not she can be considered homeless with a roof over her head, a cell phone, laptop, or trips to Europe. I think she brilliantly parlayed a homeless stint into a book deal. Part way through she did a switch from a subject which is a very real concern, into a self-absorbed fantasy abo ...more
May 22, 2011 Kate rated it did not like it
"The Girl’s Guide to the Consequences of a Homelessness State of Mind"

This book is about a girl's homelessness state of mind and the consequences.

The book is published by Harlequin, the publisher of trashy novels. Brianna's story is a tragic modern day, facebook, twitter, cell phone, blogging romance.

I think Brianna is a kind, loving and creative young woman, but misses the point of her life situation.

Homelessness applies to Brianna's state of mind. She is out in the world feeling rootless and a
May 14, 2011 Charlotte rated it liked it

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 i
Mar 02, 2012 Jes rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jes by: The bookshelf at a local bookstore
This book is a tough read. Brianna is so strong and so brave and she did it all herself. She challenges the definition of homeless and reminds people there is no one circumstance or reason for being homeless. Everyone has a very different story and just because they aren't begging and without shelter doesn't make them any less homeless. Her particular story starts in violence, assault, abuse and religious fanaticism that keeps her prisoner until she's an adult.

I've read a few reviews from peopl
Gypsy Thomas
Jan 19, 2013 Gypsy Thomas rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone not easily offended by crude language
Recommended to Gypsy by: I learned of it through the internet
The Girls Guide to Homelessness was an interesting read. I would've recommended it to my family and friends, except that there was a great deal of crude language that I know most would be offended by, so I don't recommend for that reason. I skimmed over the crude language myself, because, although it makes me uncomfortable, I am not offended enough to avoid reading the book because of it. It wasn't really a "guide" per se, more of a journaling of her experiences being homeless. If I hadn't alrea ...more
McGuffy Morris
Jun 10, 2011 McGuffy Morris rated it it was amazing
Brianna Karp is on a mission. She has a purpose. She did not choose it, but she chose to take what life dealt her and to use it for good.

Brianna has had a difficult life. From the early age of ten she was forced to work to support her mother and sister. Violence and abuse was a way of life for her. Through perseverance and determination, she fought her way out of it.

Finally, barely into her twenties, Brianna thought she had paid her dues. She had a good job and a place of her own. When the Reces
John Kaufmann
Aug 04, 2015 John Kaufmann rated it liked it
This didn't talk as much about homelessness as I expected. A large part of it was devoted to her budding on-line, then in-person, relationship with a man who hosted a blog on homelessness. That's not why I picked up the book, and I skimmed a lot as a result. But, I suppose, even homeless people have relationships - I suppose that's part of what she was getting at. But it didn't do much for me.

The author also provided a lot of good glimpses about what it's like being homeless. Now, her situation
This is a memoir about a clueless young woman who loses her job and ends up with no place to live, no real friends, and with a bad family she can't get help from. She inherits a trailer and lives out of that, mostly in a Walmart parking lot. She does find various jobs, but she ends up spending most of her money on a guy from overseas who she meets while she's writing a homelessness blog. There is a whole community and they fall in love online, over long distance phone calls, and a couple visits. ...more
Mar 01, 2011 Ann rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, adult, 2011
That is IT. I am through reading blogs-turned-into memoirs. Though Brianna's life was much more interesting that that of Two Kisses for Maddy's Matt, I found myself bored halfway through. When the memoir becomes less about what it's like to survive as homeless and more about the dodgy asshole she enters a relationship with (Spoiler alert: HE TURNS OUT TO BE A SUPER SHADY PERSON), I find myself over it really really quickly.

Also: generally speaking, at least 30% of blog memoir content becomes a
May 04, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Brianna wrote this book as she was living it, so it's really honest and raw. It drives me crazy when people challange her status of "homeless" b/c she lives in a camper. Come on! let's see them live in a camper and not call it homeless! Brianna is amazingly resiliant. She had no family to fall back on at all and she manages to do so much. If someone as intelligent and resourceful as Brianna has this much trouble bouncing back, how in the world can anyone else do it?? Something needs to change he ...more
Jul 21, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the product of a blog: The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness, but is not the reproduction of that blog. Instead the author, a twenty four year old, has shaped the narrative to center on the moment that began to define her new existence. A scene that a seasoned novelist would read with envy, so skillfully crafted was it. The day when she gathered her belongings from her mother’s house, boxed what she had room to take with her, donated to goodwill what she couldn’t, boarded her trailer, an ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Cheresa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Gordon
Feb 08, 2012 Beth Gordon rated it liked it
It's apparent that the author is well on her way as a writer. She's entertaining to read. I feel for her plight.

BUT...I don't buy a lot of it. Sure, I know she lived in a trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot for a few months/maybe a year (timeline wasn't specific in the book). My personal definition of being homeless before reading the book is not having a safe, warm, dry place to sleep. It's debatable whether a trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot is safe, but Brianna self-defines herself as homeles
Aug 15, 2011 Karyl rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I really, really wanted to like this book more. The premise is intriguing: a smart, intelligent woman loses her job and her home and has no other option than living on the street. The book starts out well, as well as could be expected when the author recounts her childhood, full of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her mother, and sexual abuse by her father. Add to that a huge dollop of craziness laid on by being Jehovah's Witnesses, and the reader becomes rather intrigued to see how ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
This is a very realistic portrayal of homelessness. Most people think of a typical alcoholic old man living in a cardboard box but this shows the broader definition. Brianna acknowledges that she has some advantages such as inheriting a trailer from a father that she never new and owning a laptop that helps her look for work. But living in a trailer at Walmart with no electricity and running water does not sound like a piece of cake to me. She never takes any state benefits other than unemployme ...more
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