Erlbaum, Janice 1969-
Erlbaum, Janice 1969-
Born August 29, 1969; partner of William K. Scurry, Jr. Education: Hunter College, B.A.; New York University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Volunteering at a shelter for homeless teenagers.
Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir, Villard (New York, NY) 2006.
Work featured in anthologies, including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Verses That Hurt, and The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order. Contributor to periodicals and Web sites, including Bust, New York Press, POPsmear, and McSweeneys.net.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Another book of memoirs tentatively titled The Incredible True Love Story of Janice and Sam.
Janice Erlbaum recounts the traumatic experiences of her youth in New York City in Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir. In 1984, at age fifteen, she moved out of her mother's home to get away from an abusive stepfather. She encountered further abuse, though, from the other residents at a homeless shelter, and then moved to a group home that had a pathologically controlling manager. Erlbaum medicated herself with alcohol, recreational drugs, and casual sex, and she eventually moved in with a boyfriend with whom she shared an addiction to cocaine. At one point an overdose almost claimed her life, but she and her lover finally managed to quit drugs. She turned to writing as a way to deal constructively with her situation, and she produced stories and essays.
Girlbomb, her first book, is marked by Erlbaum's sense of humor and honesty about her life, according to several reviewers, even though she acknowledges that some characters are composites and some dialogue reconstructed. Erlbaum "does not let herself escape her own cleverly critical tongue," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who also appreciated her "gusto" and "excellent sense of pacing." In a similar vein, Booklist reviewer Jennifer Mattson praised the author's "rueful self-regard and savage humor." Entertainment Weekly critic Tim Stack deemed Girlbomb "engrossing" if not "truly memorable." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, found the memoir "sharp yet poignant, raw and vivid," and Library Journal contributor Amanda Glassbrenner predicted that Erlbaum's story "will rivet" readers.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Erlbaum, Janice, Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir, Villard (New York, NY), 2006.
Booklist, January 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Girlbomb, p. 32.
Entertainment Weekly, March 10, 2006, Tim Stack, review of Girlbomb, p. 72.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2006, review of Girlbomb, p. 26.
Library Journal, February 15, 2006, Amanda Glassbrenner, review of Girlbomb, p. 125.
New York Times Book Review, April 9, 2006, Tara McKelvey, review of Girlbomb, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005, review of Girlbomb, p. 39.
Janice Erlbaum Home Page,http://www.girlbomb.typepad.com (July 11, 2006).