Read girlbomb a halfway homeless memoir by Janice Erlbaum Online


Just two hours ago, I had been heating up some lentil soup at my mom’s in Brooklyn, thinking I’d eat it and maybe read some Edith Wharton before bed. Now here I was at a runaway shelter, staring at a nun’s mustache and wondering where I was going to spend the rest of my adolescence.At fifteen, sick of her mom’s spineless reactions to abusive men–and afraid of her stepfatheJust two hours ago, I had been heating up some lentil soup at my mom’s in Brooklyn, thinking I’d eat it and maybe read some Edith Wharton before bed. Now here I was at a runaway shelter, staring at a nun’s mustache and wondering where I was going to spend the rest of my adolescence.At fifteen, sick of her mom’s spineless reactions to abusive men–and afraid of her stepfather’s unpredictable behavior–Janice Erlbaum walked out of her family’s apartment and never returned. What followed that fateful decision is the heart of this amazing, fascinating, and disturbing memoir.From her first frightening night at a shelter, trying to sleep in a large room filled with yelling girls, Janice knew she was in over her head. She was beaten up, shaken down, and nearly stabbed by a pregnant girl. But it was still better than living at home. Just like that, she was halfway homeless, always one step away from being sent “upstate to Lockdown.”As Janice slipped further into street life, she nevertheless continued to attend high school, harbor crushes, even play the lead in the spring production of Guys and Dolls. She also roamed the streets, clubs, bars, and parks of New York City with her two best girlfriends, on the prowl for hard drugs and boys on skateboards. Together they scored coke at Danceteria, smoked angel dust in East Village squats, commiserated over their crazy mothers, and slept with one another’s boyfriends on a regular basis. Janice Erlbaum paints a wry, mesmerizing portrait of being underprivileged, underage, and underdressed in the 1980s, bouncing from shelters to group homes, from tenement squats to legendary nightclubs. A moving and tremendously entertaining ride through the seediest parts of New York City, Girlbomb provides an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves....

Title : girlbomb a halfway homeless memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 8115167
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

girlbomb a halfway homeless memoir Reviews

  • Nikki
    2019-05-01 14:36

    Long story short: Drugs are fun to do, but boring as hell to read about.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-27 17:32

    One of the reviews of this book on the back cover has something to do with "You can't help but pull for Janice throughout this book" or something.It has something to do with rooting for the author.I disagree. I feel bad for Janice at the beginning of the book because she genuinely feels unwanted and blah blah blah.And then she starts sleeping with a bunch of guys and doing a bunch of drugs and drinking a bunch of booze and just totally slips down this huge spiral of self-destructive behaviors.I think that she takes advantage of the "homeless youth shelters" and she is definitely taking the place of someone who could really use it. If she were to try to pull those stunts in most rehabilitation homes now, she would epically fail.I'm sorry Janice, but your story isn't interesting enough to deserve a book. Congratulations, you did drugs, you cheated on your boyfriend and you drank a lot. You had a crappy step-dad and were too immature to handle your emotions appropriately. I really wish I spent the time clawing my way through this book I was reading a better book instead.

  • Anna
    2019-05-18 19:33

    This book was recommended to me by a librarian I work with and I it took me awhile to really get into it but once I got through the fisr 50 pages I enjoyed it a lot. It's the story of a girl who walked out on her mother when she was fifteen and lived in halfway houses for a year and a half (or so). The book is a memior so it's very raw. Janice had a lot of problems with drug abuse and she was very free sexually. Her friends stabbed her in the back but she wasn't the best friend either; she had low self esteem and a lot of anger toward her mother. I have a lot of admiration for her honesty in writing the book. It's amazing to hear the story of a homless drug addict who starred in her high school play, graduated on time and got into college. She was very lucky though. She had sex with many men and managed to stay AIDS & STD free. She OD'd on coke and survived and prowled the streets and clubs of New York city high (at night) and was never arrested or assaulted. One of her boyfriends worked his ass off housing her and supporting her habit (only to have her cheat on him) AND her mother who she hated was giving her money too. I mention this becuase the author is really praised for being so brave but she was very selfish and hurt a lot of people too. I don't want to judge her and she aggrees that she was lucky but it's hard for me to say I adore her or even really respect her after reading this book.

  • Kelsi
    2019-05-14 18:35

    Erlbaum has a way of putting you into situations that make you completely uncomfortable. You'll live vicariously through Janice and you will hate every second of it. Her horrific anecdotes will literally make your bones ache with remorse.Told in a series of different sections, each section poses itself to a different reader. If you have ever gone through anything bad in your life you'll be able to relate to Janice. From being halfway homeless, to drugs, promiscuity, and even hopeless displays of devoted love, Janice has been through it all.She's the friend that you try to help over and over to no avail. You'll want to hit her, hug her, and cry with her like she was your own best friend. This book is impossible to put down even when the waterworks start pouring. Erlbaum plays with your emotions like a talented pianist and never relents.

  • Meryl
    2019-05-17 16:29

    The reason I bought this book was because there was pink fishnet on the cover and I thought that it was cool because I happen to like fishnets. And I read the back of the book, just like anyone would do, and was surprised to find it would be a runaway/drugs/teenage girl story, and it was all true! I figured that because of the pink fishnets it would be about some rebellious teenage girl with the influence of the Sex Pistols and other punk bands in her life.Whatever. I was at Target and hadn't read anything in a while, so I bought it.Upon reading the first chapter or so that night, bent up in my bed, I found that the story was captivating. "Wow, this girl actually packed up a few things and left home." I liked her description of the streets and the dark and what had happened years before with her mother and these boyfriends. (Yay, problems!!!) Yadda yadda yadda.So I kept reading, every chance I got just like I would with any other book. I kept going and was intrigued by an authentic story of halfway homes and those wild teen girls that stay there. It was rather sleazy, too, but not like "Britney is SUCH a slut". More like, dirty and raw. Edgy, if you will. I liked it. LIKED the way it was told. Janice was growing up and in high school and all that, and suddenly BANG! drugs are involved, which I kind of like reading about: it's an alternative to getting high. (Drug virgin? Read about them first!) And drug stories always have that addiction to keep reading, not actually DO drugs (sometimes. See "Crank".) because of how quick the story will go along and how the protagonist is still going on with her life and there's that little bell in the back of BOTH of your minds, of wanting to get back to the BAD part of the story, which, in this case, is drugs.So "Girlbomb" was going along and come the final chapter or so everything just comes crashing down. And it's unexpected as if jogging and all the sudden you trip and falldowngoboom and you have a bloody knee or two. I am not sure what happened but everything just stopped. Not the story, no, it wasn't over, but the whole thing just got ...REALLY uninteresting. So dull and "When is this lady gonna shut UP?!". Kind of like this review, but I've been meaning to write a revew on this book so now I am. And anyway, the book got dumb. It was going along great and being a pull-you-in type of thing but it stopped being that way and just plain out sucked. Like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. It lost it's OOMPH! and stuff.What should I say, the book was good? Well, it was, up until the last chapter or two. I wish it hadn't done that because then this book coulda gotten four or even five stars from me, but it wasn't all that great all the way through. So I say, "Read it, but expect to be disappointed at the end!!!"

  • Alison
    2019-05-14 17:49

    On paper, girbomb sounds like it would hit all the marks for a Juliette-Lewis loving recovering girl punk who fetishizes both the late 80//early 90s, particularly in NYC (I count myself in this characterization as well as many others I know.) in reality I just felt Janice sounded like a bit of an asshole, especially when you heard about the sad stories, anger and misery faced by many of the other women in the shelter system and group home she stayed in. As much as her home situation maybe wasn't ideal, I felt she was also ignoring the obvious pain her mom was dealing with (the medication, mindless knitting, etc) and inhabiting a really self-involved existence. While I appreciated Janice's plucky writing style and candor regarding her relationships, drug abuse, etc, I ultimately found it hard to muster up much sympathy for her in the end. This book read like a giant xojane story where the young white narrator is nakedly confessional, oblivious to her privilege and ultimately unrepentant towards her own shitty behavior. I finished the book with the sense that Janice (who is awarded her own lovely apartment by her mother despite being virtually absent and unsupportive for the entire fucking book) hasn't learned anything from her experiences, and as a result we haven't, either.

  • Celestasaurus
    2019-05-10 19:39

    If I had to choose one word to sum up this novel, wow would do the trick. And to think this is a memoir, a true story. Janice Erlbaum dealt with abuse, drugs, and casual sex, and somehow survived it in the end. She was in a constant state of paranoia and self-hatred. Her life was a roller coaster of events--some taking her high, on-top-of-the-world high; others bringing her so low, leaving her seriously depressed or near death. But she kept living her life the way she was, partying often and experimenting with whatever drug came her way. I was pleased that she eventually straightened out her life. I highly recommend this book. It's a quick yet touching read. It reinforced my hatred of drugs. They ruined her, and I hope that readers can learn from her mistakes. Thank you, Janice Erlbaum, for sharing your story.

  • Susan Bazzett-Griffith
    2019-05-14 17:24

    A fantastically solid memoir-- intense and dark w/out being depressing. This book is filled with uncannily real accounts of the high school drug culture, but rather than making that the focus of the book, Janice Erlbaum makes it merely the backdrop (a fascinating backdrop, nonetheless), whereas the focus of the book is really on her journey of unfortunate/dysfunctional circumstances, typical and terrible, but often sympathetically so, adolescent choices, and finding a place of peace and strength in her young life. I loved the realistic portrait she creates of her young self-- its frank, and at times ugly, but always real and never so wince-worthy that you want to stop reading to recover from a particular chapter or scene. Great writer, great memoir.

  • Nadia Bouras
    2019-04-29 19:23

    Amazing book, I loved it. The beginning is a bit hard to get through and slower paced, but it's a great read. Way to go, Janice Erlbaum.

  • Marin Felsoci
    2019-05-20 19:47

    Janice, a girl who fought for shelter every night since the age of fifteen, had to overcome many obstacles throughout her years on her own. She had been beaten on the streets of New York and nearly killed multiple times. Janice lived an unbearable home life before leaving at the hands of her creepy stepfather who was quick to raise his hand to her. It was not a healthy environment for her to live in. After running away, she was forced to become an adult overnight. She had to provide for herself if she wanted food or shelter to survive. Janice and her two best friends found themselves wrapped up in drugs, sleeping with each others boyfriends, and making poor life choices. This book was difficult to read but intriguing, and made me want to read more. I wanted to find out more about her life as an adult and where she would end up.Within Erlbaum’s book, the running theme is the lack of discipline and guidance in the main character’s life. When she and her friends made mistakes that got them into trouble they did not learn from them. They had no one to teach them right from wrong. They did not have that parent figure or role model to look up to in order to help guide them through life. I appreciated how the author showed the characters growing up on their own without adults, but with the help of others in the same situation. The perspective she writes it in is about growing up in a homeless shelter environment full of hostility, instability and boredom. It can also be a place of no judgement and acceptance because everyone is in the same stage in life, living on the edge. I had trouble relating to how Janice did not learn from her mistakes and let them continue to happen again and again. Drugs and sex was just a way of life for her because she saw everyone around her doing it. There were no boundaries, nothing off limits, no rules. Therefor, Girlbomb can be a frustrating read in this mode. Living this lifestyle, she has nothing to strive for and no goals to push herself to reach. Survival is the only thing she knows. This is definitely a good read and it keeps you wondering what is going to happen next. For me, it is a completely different lifestyle than anything I have ever known or hope to ever know. Reading about a much darker side of life that I know is “normal” to so many is tough to think about.

  • Emily
    2019-04-29 21:29

    Let me first encourage you to have your socks knocked off by Janice Earlbaum's Girlbomb. I can't believe I'd never heard of it before. It's unputdownable and brilliant in that slightly-voyeuristic-account-of-a-fucked-up-but-really-cool-scenester adolescence; it's basically Basketball Diaries for women, although Janice keeps far enough above water that her teenage depravity is not awkwardly unbearable, unlike in the Jim Caroll. Janice is a teenager in New York in the eighties and she has all the drugs (except heroin, meaning that the book ends on a hopeful tone and not, as in the Jim Caroll, with the autobiographist shivering in an alley). Janice also has all the freedom, after she runs away from home. Her mom's series of bad boyfriends culminates in a creeper named Dave, and Janice gets out before anything horrible happens and goes straight to a crazy shelter, from where she's transferred to a middle-class group home. All the money she can steal from her snack bar job goes to drugs that she can share with her girly friends, who aren't that great. There's one passage where her two best friends are sobbing and telling her about subway ride back from Coney Island with their guy friends and one of them stuck his head out the train window and hit a pole and he fell back into the train, bleeding, with his fractured skull and he's in a coma and Janice is thinking, "What the hell? They went to Coney Island without me?" When cocaine comes to New York, Janice is living with a bartender who can get it easy and she rockets up the popularity ladder because she's the high school girl with the coke, and then plummets because her friends are sick of her high all the time and cutting their coke with talcum powder. She nearly dies, cheats on the bartender with the guy she had a crush on last year, moves back in with her mom, and goes off to college.

  • Sarah Apsey-Barres
    2019-05-06 22:27

    Wow - I was completely blown away by this memoir. This is one of my favorite books. I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up. I got it at work from someone who was getting rid of some books and she just laid them out as a first come, first served style of giving them away. I don't remember the date I began reading it; it was April 2011? May 2011? I don't remember. Regardless I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - it turned out to be a great story, the kind of story that, afterwards, I came away feeling really grateful that the author decided to share her story about her life. Truly a page-turner; I could not put it down. I think I finished this book over a weekend, which is rare and the only other time I did that with a book was with Twilight - although this book is hardly a fair comparison to that one. First off, this book is a memoir, not a vampire novel. This is not for the faint-of-heart, not for moms of young children who really don't want to know what real life is like (you'll be horrified, stay in your fantasy world, please), especially not life on the streets, although I highly recommend this to moms of teenagers. Especially moms in bad relationships where you find your daughter/son running away a lot: YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK, if you want to know what your son/daughter is (possibly) up to. This book is about abuse: the drug kind and the relationship kind. It's very gritty, very raw, but the author is so talented in the way she presents this life that I believe one gets an accurate picture of what she went through. I became Jan's biggest cheerleader - I really, really, really wanted to see her win in the end! Does she? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out, but you should not read this book because of the way it ends: it's just a great story. Period. Thank you Janice Erlbaum!

  • Caitlin Constantine
    2019-05-23 20:37

    This book inspired the same kind of visceral reaction I felt while reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - namely, all of the drug use made me feel like I was going to hurl. I remember those days and how shitty I felt all the time, and it made me think about that.Aside from the puke-y feeling it inspired, I enjoyed reading it, as much as one can enjoy reading books about women and girls who are seemingly bent on self-destruction. I can see why it's a big hit with the Bust-and-zines crowd though, because she does that NYC-hipster-y-too-cool-to-care thing really well. Plus, her experiences were so far removed from my own adolescence - where I spent much of my life terrified of getting trouble, she just didn't give a damn - that it was kind of like checking out a whole nother world.That said - she totally cheated on the ending. Sorry, but I don't think it's fair to the reader to spend 200 pages illustrating a downward spiral into self-destruction and then spend six pages tying it up with a convenient bow in the form of some money left by grandma and a mom willing to pay for college. I wanted to see how she had changed inside; instead, I just got the feeling that she got tired of writing one day and was like, that's it, I'm done. A more well-rounded ending would have really been nice.

  • stephanie
    2019-05-23 21:47

    oh, to be young in new york in the late eighties . . . when all the coke you could ever want was just waiting for you in washington square park. yet another tale of a girl-gone-bad, but written later in her life, so her self-awareness is refreshing. i found myself rooting for her to get her act together with the simulatenous dread that she was going to repeat those same mistakes endlessly. (i was usually right.) i hated her friends for her, i hated her stepfather, but i loved her poor mother, and i think jan really did too. ultimately, it's a story of running away and coming back and what "home" means. it's about growing up young when you aren't forced to, it's about being the one that never fits. and somehow, she found her way. i really liked it. the writing was strong and not overly victimizing. everyone seemed to be given a fair shake. good, but not great.

  • Leslie
    2019-04-25 20:26

    Erlbaum's gritty memoir of her high school years belongs to the same genre as Piece of Cake, A Million Little Pieces (assuming hers is true and not "enhanced"), and so on. Gritty, deeply depressing, Erlbaum's prose is vivid enough to leave the reader feeling hungover and strung out along with her. Unfortunately, the endless waves of description of drugs, sex, and a small dose of rock'n'roll leave the reader wondering if the experience was worth it. Erlbaum offers glimpses that the unending tide of slime is an ironic means of conveying her teenage ennui and mindless search for self, but except for the very end, there's little sense of any epiphany or understanding.

  • Kathy Hiester
    2019-04-26 20:23

    I picked this up because I love memoirs, I was a teen in the 80’s and I did spend some time in NYC. Girlbomb is a true story of a teenager in 1980s NYC that leaves home because her mother takes back her violently abuse spouse. The author recreates that hectic life she has experienced in her mother's home while living in shelters and group homes. It was fun to read, but I did have a problem with how her one-night stands and serious drug abuse were basically revered. There is no salvation at the end and I'm left to wonder if the author has ever found a place that she belongs.3 Stars

  • Erin
    2019-05-10 20:32

    What a life this woman had as a teenager. Although I can't relate to anything she has gone through (which is for the best), I still found the book interesting. So much drugs, sex and craziness, I'm glad to see she made it through alive (barely at times!). She must be doing well today (since she wrote this memoir and works with homeless teenagers now). Thanks Morgan for letting me borrow it!

  • Maggie S
    2019-05-19 15:30

    This was such an interesting book and at times I caught myself wondering how it could be based on true events. The main character Janice, who is also the author, did an amazing job keeping the reader interested. Every time I started to read it I couldn't stop myself. It gave me such a different perspective on a teenagers life and the hardships some of us go through. I wish there was more to read!

  • Renee
    2019-05-25 20:39

    I read this after "Have You Found Her" by the same author. It's a quick read, the author's account of her years as a teenage runaway. For those of us who still cringe at memories of high school -trying to be popular, illicit drug use, and hooking up with guys we didn't care for may want to skip this book. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable way to spend a snow day.

  • Jeannie
    2019-05-04 20:47

    I had a hard time putting this book down, the author wrote in such an easy-going manner. I admire this author and hope to hear more from her.

  • Jeannie
    2019-05-23 22:26

    I had a hard time putting this book down, the author wrote in such an easy-going manner. I admire this author and hope to hear more from her.

  • Lindsey Smith
    2019-05-22 14:48

    Janice Erlbaum wrote this amazing yet emotional book. This book can make you feel good in some parts, but also really emotional at some parts. Girlbomb is non-fiction memoir about a 15 year old girl.This book is about a 15 year old girl named Janice who is sick of her home life, it's dangerous and she can't tolerate it anymore. One day she was so sick of it that she left her families home and didn't look back, where she spent her first nights in a shelter. She was beaten and almost got stabbed, but she still thought it was better than living at home. From then she still managed to attend high school, in fact, she was the head role in a musical. She had 2 best friends that she did everything with, they even slept with each other's boyfriends. Anyone who thinks they have life bad or just can't stand being at home with abusive parents might enjoy this book. But also anyone who enjoys non-fiction stories about a true real life experience. This novel can teach life lessons. Such as maybe you should speak before you do. If you are having problems with your family maybe you should try talking it over with them and trying to make things better, instead of just walking out and never coming back, leaving your parents wondering if you're even still alive.

  • Katy Jane
    2019-05-11 18:47

    1. It took me awhile to read this book. I'm not sure why. I enjoyed it. I did. But it just seemed like her life went in circles. I found myself not caring about some of it. Maybe it's because I had just read Dear Diary by Lesley Arfin and they were very similar. Or maybe if Dave seemed worse than she described I would have cared more. 2. I always like reading things that are far removed from my reality. I think reading about things that you aren't familiar with helps you grow as a person.3. Words I learned: castigate, beatific, picaresque, indigent, obsequious, nascent, rapprochement, cadging, gaffes, and absentia.4. I loved the line, "I prayed every day for this marriage to end, wishing on every dandelion puff, fallen lash, face-up penny, and airplane masquerading as a shooting star." 5. Love this simile about her mom's exes, "They were temps. They were like goldfish that died and got replaced, and nobody ever stopped to ask, 'Hey, do we really want another goldfish?'"6. Every time her mom said Jan I just picture someone being really condescending to a Brady Bunch character. 7. Paragraph about her relationship with Domenic Burns: "I hadn't planned on asking, I just blurted it out. We were naked in his bed at his dad's apartment in Brooklyn, sweaty and content. It was about eleven in the morning, game shows flickering on the mute TV. We'd been screwing around and smoking pot since nine, and we still had hours to go before we even had to think about getting dressed and acting legitimate." Paragraph about her relationship with Jimmy Wilson:"We were naked in his bed in his parents' apartment in the West Village, sweaty and content. It was four-thirty in he afternoon; videos flickered on the mute TV. We'd come right from school to bed, where we'd been screwing around for an hour, and we still had about twenty minutes before we had to get dressed and act legitimate."Tell me the similarities were on purpose...8. She never stopped sucking her thumb. So strange. 9. She's very good at blaming all of her problems on everyone else. So many of her problems could have been eliminated with better decisions. 10. Alice and Hope were the worst.11. She mentioned the dandelion puff too many times.12. I don't know. The more I think about this book the more annoying Janice seems. Get over yourself. 13. I didn't like that just because she was white the others said she was basically less worthy of the homeless shelter. That angers me so much. 14. Ughhhh "Boyses" and "Girlses". It physically hurt to read that to myself.

  • Amber
    2019-05-06 14:50

    Not entirely sure how to feel about this memoir....It's a dry story with a lot of bad choices that aren't all that interestingly told. She's not a very like-able young person either. At first you feel bad...then it seems she doesn't do her part. I give her credit for writing about it though and putting it all out there!

  • Kate Letterman
    2019-05-10 17:31

    Interesting subject matter, but, weirdly, kind of a boring story. I like Earlbaum's voice, but I think it's kind of hard to write your own experiences truthfully, while trying to write a story that's something people want to read. I'd be interested in reading some of her fiction stories, where she can take some of these experiences but twist them into better, more interesting plots.

  • Claire Shannon
    2019-05-22 16:45

    I wanted to read an example of a teenage/rebellious/different real-life memoir, and this was a good model. She talked about many things I had experienced, but felt she could have added more about the NY environment and what was going on culturally and politically in the city and the rest of the world.

  • Hannah Thomas
    2019-04-25 15:40

    It’s easy to judge Erlbaum’s decisions from an outside perspective, but following her path definitely keeps you entertained. An honest look at adolescence through the eyes of a troubled teen. It’s great to see her rise above her tribulations to produce such a down to earth and vivid recollection of her experiences.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-05-14 14:40

    “Coming of Age” story about troubled high schooler from NYC - sex, drugs, drinking ends up moving out to shelter - returns - lives with boyfriend - moves to own apartment. Fast read but felt pointless at the end

  • K
    2019-04-29 14:30

    What a crazy roller coaster ride this book is. I cheer for Janice and worried for her and wanted to shake her...sometimes all at once.

  • Jordan
    2019-04-29 17:44

    Janice Erlbaum has a unique way of showing you how to express your emotions. I believe her purpose of this book is that is you have grown up in a troubled home or unstable and you still feel very uneasy about it you can really start to understand how to let it all out. Reading this book you almost feel that you have relived your own painful and vivid times of your life. It teaches you that just because an adult is an authority, they might not have in store what’s best for you. Janice uses her life in the book to prove to you that you can make it on your own. You might end up in a few shelters and even a group home, but she is only looking out for the best of you. This book is geared towards teens. So if an adult is reading the book I believe that like Erlbaum said “By the end, readers may feel they have relived their own painful, turbulent teen years. Vivid, painfully realistic coming-of-age memoir” (Kirkus reviews). So for adult I think it would be more for reliving these teen years and reminding yourself that you are a prodigy of your own work and not something that someone else has created for you. For teens I think that it will have a great impact on the audience. I believe the book will teach you the lesson of surrounding yourselves with people who will prosper instead of drag you down. In the book Janice is already hit rock bottom but she is making it on her own and constantly living a life of struggle. It could be geared as a positive or negative lesson. Girl Bomb (for short) I think is well written. Now I am a teenager who enjoys reading about others hard times and how they deal with it but for someone who likes sweet love romantics and a happy ending this isn’t the book for you. But generally the author uses great scenery in her book. I love that she uses different parts of New York City and explain them in such detail and the people that live there. Some only negative part about the book is Erlbaum uses far too many curse words than necessary. I think that she has great vocabulary but sometimes the gruesome words used in the descriptions can get a bit too much. Erlbaum waits no time on catching your attention early in the book “Where do you think you’re going?” (Erlbaum 1). That was the question in this entire book, she had no idea where she was going. It jumps right into the drama and onward Janice goes with doing life on her own. I can relate to Janice in different ways, she has two different parts. Janice has a substance abuse problem and sex problem that has no relation to me. What Janice and I do have in common are her problems with her mom. Janice’s mom is fighting a continuous battle over to crummy abusive boyfriend or her daughter (Janice). This has been a problem for my mom and it happened quicker than I had expected. “Just two hours ago, I had been heating up some lentil soup at my mom’s in Brooklyn, thinking id eat it and maybe read some Edith Wharton before bed. Now here I was at a runaway shelter, staring at a nun’s mustache and wondering where I was going to spend the rest of my adolescence” (Erlbaum 27). It happened just as quickly as that and I think that’s a lesson that I’ve learned in life and from this book. Things happen quickly and sometimes it might not be fair and I think that Erlbaum can relate to many people in this text. The tone of the book is more or less harsh. She does a great job trying to turn in terrible parts in the book into a funny tone and it makes the book that much more pleasurable. I would recommend this to a friend. I think it is more for teens than anything but not as a book on how you should live your life but really on what not to do. That’s the beauty in this book, too many books want to tell you what to do but Erlbaum just tells you her story and in hopes of it, it shows you what not to do. Awesome book!