Tag Archives: Janice Erlbaum

2006 Books Read – #11

Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir by Janice Erlbaum


This came to me as a “just because” gift from Eden. Isn’t she sweet? 😉 Okay, thoughtful. That’s better. Wouldn’t want to ruin her rep!

No expectations this time around; I knew nothing about the book except for what was on the book jacket.

Like Running With Scissors, Girlbomb is a memoir of the author’s teen years. Like Augusten Burroughs, Erlbaum ends up almost-but-not-quite homeless as a result of poor parenting. In her case, she leaves home (and ends up in a shelter) when her mother gets back together with an abusive husband.

Erlbaum, like Burroughs, has a good sense of humor about her experience. Unlike Burroughs, who quit attending school somewhere around the 6th grade, no matter how chaotic her “home” life got, Erlbaum kept going to school and ultimately graduated. I suppose some people will find this incredible, but it made sense to me. I think it goes to what I was saying in my RWS review: of course, high school is inane, but it does provide order / structure, which would be comforting if the rest of your life is in chaos.

Ultimately, I found Girlbomb a more relatable memoir than RWS. Although the events portrayed were more extreme than than anything I personally experienced, they also had the ring of familiarity. I sympathized with the author’s actions and motivations, rather than being frustrated by them. And the people, while not always likable, at least had some redeeming qualities—more “normal” human fallibility, less outright crazy.