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The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,919 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 21, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit, travel
On the surface, I should have LOVED this book. But because it hit a little too close to home, I didn't love it. Maybe if I had read it like 10 years ago I would have liked it more, but the fact is I could relate too much to it, which took away from my enjoyment. The author and I are the same age. We have done a lot of the same things. Why does she have a (not spectacularly good) book and I don't? Oh yeah, it's because her parents are rich, work in publishing and she is from the East Coast. Just ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for traveling to find yourself and find the world books and this falls neatly into this category. I really get the "I don't want to do what I'm expected to do with my life but I really don't know what I want to do with my life" feelings that Friedman had. I still have those feelings and I'm in my 50's! This book showed how she grew with her various travels and expanded her realm of consciousness. She has an easy way of describing herself and her journeys and the people and experienc ...more
Camille Dent (TheCamillion)
Apr 01, 2016 Camille Dent (TheCamillion) rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I picked up this book when I couldn't find Eat, Pray, Love anywhere in my local bookstore, but I was in the mood for a good travel story.
Tip: do not substitute this book for Eat, Pray, Love if you can't find it in your bookstore. I can guarantee you it will be worth the wait, and I haven't even read it yet.

This is the first book I've ever given 1 star. I honestly did not learn anything useful from this book, and none of my memories of her travels are very clear or meaningful. I read this book ov
May 04, 2011 Laurie rated it really liked it
This book is written in a breezy style that captured my attention from the start. I felt almost as if I were there with Rachel during her travels and escapades. Often times humorous, there were also moments that caused me to step back slightly, as Rachel apparently did, and take a look at an idea or issue with, what seemed like, a new set of eyes. I loved reading about all the different places she visited and people she encountered. For me, it got a bit tedious after awhile listening to her bemo ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs, travel
Ugh. Why is the author's voice so annoying? I'm trying to pinpoint exactly why it bothers me so much, but I can't quite. Her prose are fine, and I found her descriptions of her locations and activities enjoyable, but she just comes off as a spoiled rich brat. I feel like she is one of those people who travel for the bragging rights, or to prove how tough they are. She is also one of the unhappiest travelers I've read about. She starts off in Ireland, where instead of exploring the area and enjoy ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
I've been in such a funk lately when it comes to reading travel memoirs. I have discovered that they really are my favorite genre of books, but that means I sometimes place unrealistically high expectations on them. After reading Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves, I was unsure I wanted to jump into another travel essay so quickly. But I did, and I'm happy about that decision. The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman turned out to be a surprisingly good reading experience - just when ...more
Jan 16, 2012 kathleen rated it really liked it
..."What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable, not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment. After that, maybe we can fi ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! The author has that rare talent to be able to relate an uproariously funny story from her memory to the written word. Her trials and triumphs on the road (literally) to discovering herself had me laughing and cheering for her the entire way. I am lucky enough to have a Carly in my life so I can totally relate to the friendship formed while traveling but solidified by shared experience. A truly great read.
Sep 18, 2013 Caroline rated it it was amazing
The next best thing to embarking on your own great trip is getting immersed in someone else's. Rachel Friedman's tale of discovering a fierce passion for travel that she didn't know she harbored, and her experiences backpacking in Ireland, Australia, and South America had me absolutely engrossed. I didn't want it to end, but now that I'm finished it's time to go plan my own next trip...
Jan 30, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
The first book I'm reading for my Eclectic Reader Challenge, this book fulfills the Travel (Non-Fiction) category. I really enjoyed this book. It has me contemplating where I will go on my next international trip...
April Lashbrook
Jun 17, 2014 April Lashbrook rated it it was amazing
Loved this memoir! It made me want to get a backpack and set off to who knows where.
Dec 31, 2015 Rease rated it liked it
I wish I could give this 2.5 stars. Like many other reviewers, I was frustrated by the fact that this completely mediocre story even made it into a book. As a travel writer who actually lived in Buenos Aires for 2 years and knows countless other travel writers who can really and truly write a story, I found this book to be a huge disappointment. This privileged white girl did the same thing that so many other people have done, and then told the story terribly.

This could have been more interesti
Jul 08, 2014 Kristine rated it really liked it
If I could, I'd give this 3.5 stars. Picky, I know.

As a recent college grad, I could really relate to Rachel's feeling of not having a direction, being lost, not knowing where or what to do...yada yada yada. Not abnormal feelings for people who are starting a new part of their lives. The fact that I sympathized so much with her is what made me buy and read this book. I was also hooked by her stories in Ireland, where I have also traveled to and always love to read about. I also really enjoyed r
May 26, 2016 Kimberly rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars. It's a cute read, nothing awful but nothing necessarily spectacular. In the beginning her naïveté was a bit annoying although she does grow through her travels. Oh and the chapter introductions where she refers to herself as "our heroine" were super annoying and accompanied each chapter. She wasn't MY heroine in any sense of the word and to call yourself a heroine produces multiple eye rolls from me.

In the book, as a backpacker, she talks a lot about at hostels how they hav
Jan 19, 2016 SK rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book. After reading it, I want to sell everything, pack a bag and set off to some destination (any destination really, but Australia is mighty appealing). I am in awe of Rachel & Carly... slightly jealous of their adventures... and this is only lessened by the empowering message: I can do it too.

I can't recommend this book enough. As a fan of travel memoirs, I can tell you this is one of the better ones. Friedman does a great job weaving in factual information abo
Terrance Zepke
Mar 21, 2015 Terrance Zepke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book for so many reasons. It is a unique blend of a coming of age story, of friendship, and about travel. The protagonist is a twenty-two year old girl from a middle class family who had decided to go to Ireland for the summer before her college graduation. This awakened a need to explore more of the world before "settling down." This lead to her story of "three continents, two friends, and one unexpected adventure." Rachel told the story in a lovely way. She was quite candid and so ...more
Mar 13, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it
When will I learn that I'm too old to fully appreciate memoirs of globe trotting twenty somethings with English degrees finding themselves? There certainly seems to be a market for the genre.

Rachel Friedman's account of wanderings in Ireland, Australia and South America is less self indulgent and less sloppily written than many similar books. However, I'm still puzzled as to what I was to gain from this read except from travel tales of bed bugs, gropers, food poisoning and inadequate budgeting.
Apr 20, 2011 saferia rated it really liked it
I won this book on Goodreads first reads giveaways (a very GOOD read).

I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained by this travel memoir. In-between chapters I found myself looking in travel magazines and searching for flights for my next adventure.

I enjoyed Friedman's writing style as she humorously relayed events from her months abroad in Ireland (and lugging around "Big Red"), learning about Australian sarcasm (watch out for the dangerous "Drop Bears") and abbreviations, and her bout
May 14, 2016 Mikayla rated it it was ok
I think part of me wants to rate this book higher, simply because of the main plot: girl travels the world in search of adventure. But, the girl in the story is so god awful, so unlikeable, and miserably dense, it's hard to get past her sincere disdain for the adventure she so vehemently insists she desires. For instance, she's a terrible friend to the one person who seems to be able to be around her for more than a few hours at a time.

Like (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!) when the two plan to meet in South
A coming of age travelogue

I enjoyed how the author defined tourist from traveler. I also enjoyed learning how in other countries travel is encouraged and made more doable because their youth are not saddled with mammoth college debt. Also other countries receive much more vacation time than we do in the U.S.

What I didn't like about the book is how the author was thinking about how independent she was but the had to ask her mother for money to get home and would not have been able to get there e
Sharn Dhah
Jun 21, 2015 Sharn Dhah rated it did not like it
The voice is initially what turned me off to this book. Snobby white girl from an upper middle class family travels the globe and meets people who are far less privileged and still doesn't understand their lives very well. There is a point where Friedman is in Peru and explains the native marriage traditions, where a bride cuts her hair and the groom weaves it into a belt that he will wear. It sounds romantic, but Friedman only analyzes it on the most superficial level, "Does she wonder how her ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
I've read both good and bad reviews for this book, but for me, I absolutely adored it. So much of Friedman's story echoed my own personal experiences and thoughts, which was a surreal experience. I was able to empathize and have words put to some feelings that I had never fully explored before. I've always wanted to travel, and of course the fear of the unknown is almost always present in my mind, but this book presented an alternate future and suggestions for how I can continue to live my life. ...more
May 26, 2014 Liralen rated it liked it
Girls like me choose horses, or eating disorders, or literature--we choose any number of worlds within which to disappear, but that dangerous energy has to go somewhere. (Page 31)

File under books that resonated with me perhaps a bit too much for my liking.

Friedman set off for Ireland almost on a whim -- she'd travelled before, but never on her own, and never without a plan. Her parents expected her to do something productive, something that would help career-wise, not take off for a few months.
Mar 26, 2013 Heidi rated it liked it
There are rocky parts to this book, but it finishes strong (especially when I know it's a true story! I enjoy discovering someone's experiences and it encourages me to travel too! I would recommend this to anyone who loves to travel.
Tahni Candelaria
Jun 01, 2015 Tahni Candelaria rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book! I thought it was interesting enough, but I couldn't finish it because I was annoyed by the writing. A metaphor or simile every sentence. I don't even know how that's possible, but she has done it. :/
Jessica Medved
Nov 03, 2014 Jessica Medved rated it really liked it
This book is REALLY GOOD!
It is about a college junior who travels to Ireland meets an Australlian girl and then follows her home in Australlia and ventures off on her own in South America. This is the kind of travel memoir I LOVE! It reads a lot like a novel, not bogged down in the historical details of every single place she visits while still mentioning the forign charm each place has.

The story is about her struggle with her desire to travel the world and follow American social norms of growi
Jul 25, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Great travel memoir about traipsing through Ireland, Australia, and South America. I related to Friedman traveling alone and her reasons for doing so, but I'm not sure I could go off for months on end. Maybe when I retire? I've never stayed at a hostel anywhere, and I think I may be too spoiled and old to do so now! If I could get a private room--maybe I could handle a shared bathroom. Maybe. Ha! I'm so selfish. Not as many quotable moments as in Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independe ...more
Sep 15, 2014 Jackie rated it it was amazing
I actually read this book at exactly the right time. I really needed it. I have always considered myself a traveler over a vacationer. I have an urge to see the world and learn about all corners of it. The author takes this to another level. I was prepared to not like the book that much; sounded like a spoiled rich girl trying to "find herself" and I was sure would complain about a ton of first world problems. She turned out to be a very insightful writer. I enjoyed her observations about the cu ...more
Jun 24, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This book has been on my to-read list for a while but I decided to jump on it when one of my roommates was talking about how much she loved it. As I love reading about travel, but am often unhappy with travel memoirs, I was excited to give it a go.

In my opinion, this is definitely one of the better travel memoirs out there. Rachel is real and goes traveling with real expectations. While she is kind of unsure of her purpose in life she doesn't travel looking to find that purpose and she
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“What happens when we lose the things that anchor us? What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable. not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment.” 6 likes
“At this point in my travels and in my life, I still regard changing course as a personal failing. I don't yet have the hindsight to realize that some places don't fit quite right, for whatever reason, so sometimes it's best to cash in your chips and give it a go somewhere new, even if a mere twenty-four hours before you didn't even know that place existed.” 4 likes
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