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Boren, Karen Lee

Boren, Karen Lee


Married Paul Greenlaw. Education: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, B.A., Ph.D.; Wichita State University, M.F.A.


Home—RI. Office—Department of English, Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence, RI 02908-1991. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and educator. Rhode Island College, Providence, associate professor of English.


Girls in Peril: A Novella, Tin House Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of fiction to periodicals, including the Florida Review, Jabberwock, Yemassee Review, Epoch, Night Train, Karamu, Hawai'i Pacific Review, and Dominion Review; contributor of nonfiction to Bookforum, Cream City Review, and the Lonely Planet anthology Rite of Passage: Tales of Backpacking 'Round Europe.


In her book Girls in Peril: A Novella, Karen Lee Boren tells the story of a group of five young girls whose titular leader, Jeanne Macek, has an extra baby thumb on one hand that the group sees as a talisman for them all. Set in the 1970s, the novel follows Jeanne and her friends over a hot August as the bored girls search for excitement and explore their sense of betrayal when Jeanne's mother has her daughter's extra thumb surgically removed. The surgery does not bode well for the group as Jeanne's brother is arrested on a drug charge, her mother prevents Jeanne from hanging out with her friends, and the group falls apart completely after a tragedy. In an interview with Bobby Tanzilo for On, Boren noted: "The book is autobiographical only insofar as the experience of coming-of-age is represented in the book." Boren added that "the movement I wanted to explore in the book is from that sense of a collective self who has little awareness of the world beyond the security of the immediate group to an individual self who is aware of the larger constructions of the world … and one's individual placement within this larger world." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented that the author "hits her mark." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Girls in Peril a "taut coming-of-age tale."



Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of Girls in Peril: A Novella, p. 308.

Publishers Weekly, April 10, 2006, review of Girls in Peril, p. 45.


On, (June 20, 2006), Bobby Tanzilo, "Boren Finds Literary Inspiration in Cudahy Youth."

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