Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Publication Date: April 26th, 2011
Short synopsis (Goodreads): "I am an educated woman with stable employment and residence history. I have never done drugs. I am not mentally ill. I am a career executive assistant—coherent, opinionated, poised, and capable. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't have assumed that I lived in a parking lot. In short, I was just like you—except without the convenience of a permanent address." Brianna Karp's account of her journey through homelessness immerses us in a timely, relevant topic that all too many Americans know about first hand.
My Review: What first intrigued me about this book was the title. You hear things like "The Girls Guide to Perfect Hair" or "The Girls Guide to the SAT's" but never something like "The Girls Guide to Homelessness." I've always been scared of being homeless. I don't think I could handle it. Needless to say, I was intrigued to take a look 'behind the scenes' and not have to experience it myself but understand more of what it is like. My ideas have changed.
As a warning to other readers, Brianna does not beat around the bush. This memoir was a lot more personal than I thought it was going to be, that is part of why it got to be so compelling, but the author's life was not easy and she tells us what happened. She doesn't go into graphic details, but reading those things made me realize how cushy a life I have always had and made me deeply deeply impressed with how Brianna has been able to come out on top and never stop fighting for herself and for what she believes in.
I'll admit that, a little part of me, thought exactly some of the stereotypical things that Brianna has fought so hard to dispel about the state of homeless people. I don't begrudge homeless people simple pleasures, I just sometimes thought they could try a little harder. I'm ashamed that I thought that way and realize now how easy it is to lose the stability in our lives that we so often rely on. It's important for us to never judge and to try to get to know people and how we can help them. Brianna is a great example of not having a lot herself but using all she had to help those around her. Even though she was in bad situations she always remained trustworthy and hardworking.
I really liked how at the end of the book there are lots of links to find out more information about homelessness and how we can help. To find out more about Brianna you can go to her website: The Girls Guide to Homelessness.
Not your typical feel good book, but certainly one that makes you think and step out of your comfort zone. Brianna is a great writer and it was easy to get sucked into her experiences and to want to become a better person after seeing her example.