Thursday, 21 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: Save Karyn

I’ve decided to add a new feature to the blog once a month, a ‘throwback Thursday’ post about a book that I read/was published before I began Miss Chapter's Reviews and therefore haven’t reviewed before.  The only criteria is that it will be posted on a Thursday, and that it’s a post about a book I really enjoyed.

The first book to kick off this slot was published in 2004 in paperback, and I remember reading it while I teaching and thinking "what a cracking idea to have had."  The book in question is called Save Karyn and is by Karyn Bosnak.  Let’s begin with the blurb:

What would you do if you owed $20,000? Would you:

a) Not tell your parents?
b) Stop colouring your hair, having pedicures and buying Gucci?
c) Start your own website that asks for money without apology?

If you were Karyn Bosnak, you'd do all three...

In New York for the first time, with the dream job and the smart flat, Karyn starts spending...and spending. But when it all goes horribly wrong, and her credit card balance mounts in a terrifying manner, Karyn knows that she has to take control. She starts her website on which she fearlessly asks for donations to help pay off her debts. The website receives over 2 million hits and has replies from all over the world - some supportive, many abusive. But after four months, Karyn has become a new woman- debt-free, grateful and happy. This is the hilarious and touching true story of how she does it.

Save Karyn is the true story of Karyn Bosnak, an 30 year old American who gets her dream job as a television producer.  Of course, in the cut-and-thrust world of the media industry, one has to look the part, and Karyn quickly starts buying luxury goods that initially she feels able to afford.  Soon however her spending habit has gotten out of hand, and she lands herself with the huge sum of $20,000 of debt!  Karyn is desparate.  She doesn’t want to ask her parents for help, yet she knows that on her own there is no way that she can make such a huge repayment, at least not on her own.

The brainwave that she has is to set up a website and beginning blogging her story.  If she tells it like it is, and asks for help, then just maybe she can pay off her debt.  After all, if she could get just $1 from 20,000 people, then her debt will be cleared.  Karyn blogs and accounts for every penny she earns or is given, and bit by bit, begins to pay off her debt.  Along the way she is sent messages of support and donations, but she also receives her share of abuse from members of the public who use her as a sounding board for a generation of people who have ruthlessly spent what they don’t actually have.  In just twenty weeks, Karyn’s debt has gone.

I loved this book, not just because of the excellent idea that Karyn comes up with – having also just started working and discovering the world of plastic money, at the time of reading I had my own fair share of debts so could resonate to some degree with the girl on the page in front of me, especially as we are of a similar age.   This book is also extremely funny, and whilst it could easily be a ‘poor me’ tale, Karyn readily admits her spending habits have taken over her life, but heads out to solve them with a dignity and strength that I couldn’t help but admire.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

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