A Halfway Homeless Memoir

By Janice Erlbaum

Villard Books, Paperback, 9780812974560, 252pp.

Publication Date: March 6, 2007

At fifteen, sick of her unbearable and increasingly dangerous home life, Janice Erlbaum walked out of her family's Brooklyn apartment and didn t look back. From her first frightening night at a shelter, 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. As Janice slipped further into street life, she nevertheless attended high school, harbored crushes, and even played the lead in the spring musical. 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.
A wry, mesmerizing portrait of being underprivileged, underage, and underdressed in 1980s New York City, "Girlbomb" provides an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves.
A fast and engrossing read in the spirit of Girl, Interrupted.
" Entertainment Weekly"
Gripping . . . a wry, compelling memoir of what it means to stand up for yourself, especially when no one else will.
" Bust"
How satisfying to watch Erlbaum survive adolescence and produce a smart, engaging book.
" The New York Times Book Review"
Erlbaum's survival is hard-won, the journey rendered with page-turning intensity.
" New York Post"
A fast and engrossing read in the spirit of Girl, Interrupted.
Entertainment Weekly
Gritty . . . perversely riveting. You want her to survive.
The Washington Post Book World.

About the Author
Janice Erlbaum is the author of two memoirs, Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir (Villard/Random House, 2006), and Have You Found Her (Villard/Random House, 2008). She lives with her husband in her native New York City, where she teaches writing. She can be found at

Praise For Girlbomb

Advance praise for Girlbomb

“This affecting, silver-tongued memoir observes with absolute precision the slipperiness of being a teenaged girl in a world where friends backstab and parents betray you. Candid, searing, and, at times, wickedly funny, Girlbomb is an uncommon story about a remarkable adolescent who, in a bid to save herself, chose homelessness over her mother’s one continuous mistake. Stunning.”
–Amanda Stern author of The Long Haul

“Janice Erlbaum has all the stuff that cult icons are made of. Women everywhere will find their Basketball Diaries in Girlbomb.”
–Koren Zailckas, author of Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood