Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Erin Flanagan (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Novel set in late-1970s Cincinnati, on its traditionally conservative, Catholic west side. Karen is a sheltered seventeen-year-old girl, who gets a job bussing tables at a bowling alley restaurant. Unlike the friends she has struggled to fit in with throughout high school, Karen finds she is immediately welcomed into the group of teenagers who work there. She tries to become more street smart like her new friends, but finds herself jolted by their casual attitudes towards drinking, drugs, and sex. Along with the coming-of-age theme, the story addresses issues of homosexuality in a time when gays were just beginning to come out publicly. Karen struggles with her search for truth and love against the seventies' backdrop of social upheaval and economic insecurity. While the subjects are serious, the first-person narrator has a sense of humor and enduring hope that reflects the bittersweet and fleeting nature of teenage melodrama.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of English Language and Literatures

Year Degree Awarded