U.S. woman documents homelessness in memoir
By Nick Olivari
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Brianna Karp has had an unfortunate life -- sexual abuse, date rape, an unhappy Internet love affair and homelessness.
But the 26-year-old from southern California, has still managed to find the joy in living and tells her story in "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir," which is published this month.
It's an ongoing story, reality television in print. After the broad brush memories in the initial pages the book moves to the central theme -- homelessness and urban survival.
All along the way it's harrowing, even when the reader can suspect what comes next and the end result is a book deal. Karp now lives in a converted shed on a dirt lot. Whatever success she has achieved she attributes not to being brilliant or smart but perhaps to be more determined.
"I have my sad times when I just want to cry and say I can't do it anymore. Then I cry, get up and get moving. What's your other option?" she said.
Karp's tribulations began early with a broken home but life started to look up when she was able to make her own decisions. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness she rejected the church, moved away from her family and took care of herself until she lost her job.
After an unsuccessful job hunt she inherited her father's 30-foot (10-meter) trailer after his suicide and learned she can camp out in the parking lots of certain Wal-Mart stores if she remained discreet.
The arrangement made her less than technically homeless, an advantage Karp acknowledges but emphasizes there are various degrees of homelessness. Continued...