Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review (spoilers included)

I just finished reading "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness" by Brianna Karp. It was my 24th book this year. I've now read 25 so I am one book behind in my one-book-a-week goal.

What a book. I was hooked by the first sentence in Chapter 1 and by the end of the first page, I knew it was going to be my kind of book.

It's a story about a woman who faced adversity in some form all of her life. She was raised in what she calls a cult, force-fed a very hypocritical religion her whole child-hood. She was molested and abused as a child/teen, raped and cheated on as a young adult. She started working at nine years of age to help support her family and she finally found her dream job and worked hard to finally have a place of her own. And then the recession hit. She was laid off from her job and six months later, lost her home. She moved back in with her mom, only to suffer even further abuse and false accusations. She inherited a travel trailer from her estranged father who had committed suicide and lived in it in a Walmart store parking lot until it was towed (even after she had the permission of the store manager) and she didn't have the money to get it back. This woman was no slouch. She applied to hundreds upon hundreds of jobs and worked for a couple more companies that laid her off after promising full time work simply because it was cheaper to bring on a full time employee and lay them off than it was to contract through a temp agency. She lost everything, but she found love. And then just when you think things will work out okay, she lost that too (and a baby). But this isn't just another sad story. She not only survived all of what she went through, she conquers her destiny. She found success, not in spite of adversity, but because of it.

In this memoir, Brianna Karp makes you question your beliefs, assumptions, prejudices and opinions. As much as I am an advocate of the homeless and less fortunate and although I work with a couple different homeless ministries in my community and do what I can to show love and respect to all people, regardless of social status, I found myself feeling some pretty strong conviction for judgments and assumptions that I didn't even realize I had. This book humbled me. I identified with several of her experiences and couldn't help but thinking several times throughout the book "this could have been me.... if not for the grace of God."

I know I put a spoiler or two in there, but this book is absolutely worth the read. It is not for the faint of heart though. It is laced with f-bombs and other profanity, but it is REALITY for so many people out there.

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