Book Reviews

Save Karyn: One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak | Book Review

Save Karyn: One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak | Book Review Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Original Publication Date: 2003
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest

What would you do if you owed $20,000? Would you: A) not tell your parents? B) start your own website that asked for money without apology? or C) stop coloring your hair, getting pedicures, and buying Gucci? If you were Karyn Bosnak, you’d do all three. Karyn started a funny yet honest website,, on which she asked for donations to help her get out of debt. Karyn received e-mails from people all over the world, either confessing their own debt-ridden lives or criticizing hers. But after four months of Internet panhandling and selling her prized possessions on eBay, her debt was gone!

Save Karyn: One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak is one of my favorite books. I wore out my first copy and had to buy another.

I’m constantly recommending the book to my friends and even to my boyfriend. I have re-read it many times from cover to cover and frequently will read parts of it over and over.

I really like reading classic British novels such as books by the Brontes and Jane Austen. I also like reading modern American classics by Salinger and Updike.

But probably my favorite type of book to read is non-fiction, especially memoirs. I really love any book that makes me think hard about the choices I make. If the book also makes me laugh, I will really love it!

Why does this book mean so much to me? Because I can really relate to Karyn’s story.

Karyn Moves to New York City

When Bosnak arrived in Manhattan in 2000 to be a television producer, she came to the big bad city to “find out who I was”. She immediately embraced the expensive Manhattan lifestyle, living in the ritzy Sutton Place neighborhood and buying designer clothes and purses.

Bosnak LOVED to shop! She made a very good living as a television producer — but not enough to support her lifestyle. Her favorite stores were places like Bloomingdale’s and Barney’s. Every time she had a date, she’d buy another outfit. She spent money on bikini waxes, haircuts, take-out food, and fitness training (probably to make up for eating so much take-out).

Things Spiral Out of Control

But Karyn shopped too much. She was spending far more than she earned and soon had trouble paying the rent and all her other bills. She charged just about everything on her numerous credit cards.

Eventually, Karyn lost her job, and as it was soon after September 11th, 2001, she had a very difficult time finding another one. She owed well over $20,000 on credit cards. The unemployment insurance didn’t begin to cover her debts. What to do?

Karyn Saves Herself With Help From The Internet

She started a website (really an early version of a blog), asking people for money. Because she was funny and people enjoyed the website, it worked!

She was able to pay off all her debts. Her original website is here: Save Karyn

Since then Karyn has become a very successful blogger, in addition to writing books. Her current blog: Pretty in the City

Final Analysis

Why do I relate to this? Because I know what it’s like to be drowning in debt. This has happened to me, and most of it was my fault, but some of it was because of circumstances I could not control.

Now some people may not like someone asking other people to pay her debts, but at least Karyn found a funny and creative way to deal with her debts. She was proactive about it, and I admire that.

This is the only book I have read that was humorous about being in debt. It made me feel that I really wasn’t such a bad person because I owed money on credit cards. I didn’t really hurt anything except my credit rating, and that will eventually be straightened out.

I really recommend this book. It takes a serious subject and puts it into perspective.

Please check out my review on A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Karyn Bosnak

Karyn Bosnak lives in Los Angeles. Her first book, the memoir Save Karyn (based on the website of the same name), received international media attention when it was published in 2003, resulting in appearances on the Today Show and 20/20. Karyn’s second book and first novel, 20 Times A Lady, was published in 2006 and made into the 2011 feature film What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans.

I love books, writing, film, and television.


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