Monday, December 29, 2014

Girl's Guide to Homelessness - Brianna Karp

This is a powerful memoir of a young woman from a dysfunctional family (an understatement) who lost her 50K a year job and became homeless, living out of an old camping trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  She began a blog which led to her being hired as an intern for an Elle columnist and the publication of her book in 2011.  She is an advocate for the homeless and its not clear what she as ended up doing or where she's now living.

One of the most important things I learned reading this book is that there are so many different kinds of homeless people, different types of homelessness, different reasons for getting there.  She advocates for removing judgment and extending understanding.

"Resources are the absolute most important thing when you're homeless.  You learn to make the most of everything you have....The only resource that all [homeless] have is ourselves.  My body and my mind were and are my most important assets.  As long as I was alive and healthy and physically and mentally capable of coming up with a plan and executing it, I knew I'd be okay."

She suffered through a painful, deceitful relationship while homeless, in addition to having no family support.  She was not a drug abuser, drinker or goof off.  She took no public assistance, except for unemployment, as she felt it should go to those who truly needed it.

The book reminded me of another one, Nickeled and Dimed, which pointed out how very difficult it is to afford and maintain housing.  It's one of the greatest challenges in living in the U.S. today.

I would like to know that she is secure and employed and happy - the book leaves that unsaid.

Published: 2011  Read: December 2014  Genre: Memoir

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