The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: a Memoir

girl sitting on the arm of a wingback chair outside in a parking lot under stormy skies
Brianna Karp
4
Tuesday, 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.

Written by Helen H.

Fun fact: I adore furry faces.