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

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,249 ratings  ·  317 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
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  3,249 ratings  ·  317 reviews

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Dec 21, 2011 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
Kamila Dk
Nov 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dear Rachel Friedman,
the poet Gabriel Mistral you mention on p. 268 is actually Gabriela Mistral -a female, just for your record. 1945 Nobel Prize winner.
Also your remark on p. 157 about you not speaking Austrian - well, guess what? No one does. The language spoken in Austria is actually German.
Please check you facts next time.
I was rather disappointed with this book - a description of accommodation and means of travel rather than a travelogue. It failed to captivate me.
Maybe ok for someone who
Jan 10, 2013 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
Apr 28, 2016 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
Camille Dent
Mar 22, 2016 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
Apr 10, 2011 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
I would rate this 2.5 if I could, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a 3. This book feels weird to me. While I did enjoy it, I would often put it down and not return for days or weeks because I dreaded reading it again. I recall enjoying it while reading it, but I can't seem to think of why that was. Eventually I finished it because I didn't want to leave another book half read.

So here's the deal. Stuffy, 20-something year old Rachel Friedman does something that is apparently
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure is a heart-warming and funny story of self-evolution and mateship, as defined through travel.

Following her parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriage to new partners, Friedman decides to spend the summer before her last year of college travelling alone in Ireland to best avoid them all. Landing in Dublin, she quickly realises that living in hostels on your own is harder and more lonelie
Nov 24, 2011 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
Maggie Hurst
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
My love of traveling is the only thing that made this book bearable. The author's voice was immature and the writing was mind numbingly formulaic. I might recommend this book to young, less experienced readers to get them excited about traveling, but everyone else should steer clear.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2012 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
Nicole {Sorry, I'm Booked}
Review originally published on my blog:

I absolutely loved this travel memoir!

Friedman’s stories about her travels provide a look into what’s like to travel alone, the good along with the not so good. I really liked this about Friedman’s travel memoir because she was truthful about her experiences instead of twisting things or leaving pieces out to make it seem like everything was awesome and super glamorous when traveling isn’t always like that.

Aug 23, 2014 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 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...
Hannah Jemar
May 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book had such potential but was ruined by the lack of story and dialogue. It felt like reading a geography book about Ireland, Australia and South America. There is no storyline. The author spends the entire book describing in detail all the places she went but there is no character development or story. She went on for 3 pages describing the red sand in Australia.
do not waste your time.
Dec 08, 2012 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.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Rachel always did what was expected of her until one day she didn't. She flew to Ireland and spent the summer in Galway. There she meets Carly who becomes a roommate, friend, and future travel companion. At first I wasn't impressed since it seems that Rachel's stint was one drinking stint after another. But when Carly invited Rachel to visit her Australian family I became more impressed. I enjoyed her Australian adventures and her new family. Rachel grows up and becomes more confident. Carly and ...more
Feb 05, 2020 added it
Shelves: travel
I hope I never get sick of this genre. I'm literally always down to hear about a female solo traveller. Each writer has a unique perspective going into it, including biases to be worn down. They pick a unique mix of places to live or pass through. Meet different people. Have different epiphanies.

I cheered for Rachel when she went skydiving. I was apprehensive for her having to say goodbye to Carly after South America. I was touched by her connection with Muriel. My favorite travel memoirs are p
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was charming and full of feel-good adventure. I loved the authors lighthearted take on not knowing what path to take. My nostalgia for Peru and the excitement for upcoming adventures in Ireland and Australia were quenched by her tales.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will inspire you to follow your dreams and live in the moment. It's a bit detailed though.
Susan Vrabec
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A perfect travel/vacation read. Rachel Friedman’s writing is lighthearted, witty and candid.
Katharine Rudzitis
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Memorable locations and activities throughout. This might make you want to travel more...
Cody Alana
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and not just because I found it relatable, but when I finished, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend.
Erin D.
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing adventures!

I so loved this book. Felt like I was there with her on her travels. I took notes for the future and it inspired me to get more stamps in my passport with friends.
Sharn Dhah
Jun 19, 2015 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
Jessica Marquis
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this three-part story of how an anxious, Type-A college grad found a new home and, in many ways, a new personality after her decision to live abroad without a real plan. Author Rachel Friedman has acquired buckets of knowledge and experience and learned there is much value in bucking the norms of what we're "supposed" to do as middle-class Americans. What if there's something better, or simply, something else? It's a question I'm pondering myself.

The third section, that of Friedman's
Mar 13, 2015 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.
Jan 19, 2016 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 about h
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I always try to read a book during finals week that makes me feel like I am somewhere else entirely. This book is a good example of that genre as it follows the author's travels to Ireland, Australia, and South America immediately before and after her college graduation as she decides what she wants to do with her life. My cousin was in the Peace Corps after she graduated from college (and coincidentally met her husband in Bolivia, a detail somewhat similar to this author) and I was struck by th ...more
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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
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“I imagine the people whose lives are most intertwined with mine, and I realize life has gone on without me. The planet has not imploded because I, the girl who has always done what is expected of her, decided not to, just this once.” 8 likes
“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.” 7 likes
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