What would it feel like to find yourself suddenly living back in a college dorm room? Four faculty members at Prairie State College in Minnesota are about to find out as their administration comes up with a bizarre strategy to improve graduation rates–The Faculty Dorm Dweller Program.

While the idea seems promising to the administration, it doesn’t take long for problems to arise—problems which readers will find appallingly funny, situations that stimulate both empathy and snark. There’s an almost unbearable lightness in being young again.

So Juanita Jane Ruckler, a fiftyish English professor, proves that she’s not old by having an affair with a nineteen-year-old student. Lyla Benson, recently divorced and thirty-eight, runs into her old college flame and finds herself searching: is there something more than ashes left in that relationship? Bert Rojas, a math professor, is using the program to escape a boring home life with a nagging wife—the woman he’d married right after college, back when youth had seemed eternal. As the FDD crew gets to know each other, they provide balance, experience, and understanding to one another. Even fresh-faced and naive young Joy McPherson, assistant professor in Political Science, can sometimes teach her older colleagues—though her own choices seem inexorably wrong. And the students? They’re teachers too, sometimes….


Gretchen Johnson was born and raised in Minnesota but now lives in Beaumont, Texas, where she works as an Associate Professor of English at Lamar University. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. Her first book, The Joy of Deception, was published by Lamar University Press in 2012. Her second, A Trip Through Downer, Minnesota, was published by Lamar in 2014. Her novel, Single in Southeast Texas, was published by Golden Antelope in 2017 and won the Summerlee Book Award in 2018.