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Now available from Signature Editions

Shop Class Hall Pass

A Memoir

For thirty-four years, Karin rarely thought about how the boy in ninth grade repeatedly groped her. Because it wasn’t important. It didn’t matter. Because it couldn’t possibly be related to her decades of anxiety, depression, nightmares, suicidal thoughts and bi-polar diagnosis. Because being groped in high school is just boys will be boys. It isn’t a big deal. It’s not worth mentioning let alone thinking about. Right?

In 2018 when Karin sees a therapist to talk about the stress of her job as a 911 call taker and police dispatcher, the story about ninth grade and the boy blurts out. Instead of dismissing it as adolescent horseplay, the therapist takes it seriously. Suggests it might matter.


Shop Class Hall Pass details the next eighteen months as Karin explores how being groped can have serious consequences, learns to recognize the effect it had on her life, and unravels how it shaped deep beliefs.

Karin’s story weaves through the lives of her callers: a man overdosing on fentanyl, a convenience store clerk who witnessed a murder, a woman who jumped off a bridge. As Karin learns to recognize the effects on trauma in her own life, she begins to see the impact it has on her callers and in her community.

With the help of her therapist, books and the internet, Karin learns that as dooming as the word trauma sounds, as deep as the hole of three decades of unresolved trauma seems, there are many paths to healing and healing is possible.


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