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Shirley White Pearl—The Marginal Woman: Loving, Living, & Breaking Boundaries in a Pre-Feminist World

About the The Marginal Woman: Loving, Living, & Breaking Boundaries in a Pre-Feminist World:

Shirley White Pearl was raised in an era when women stayed home and raised children, took care of the house and husband. But Shirley is anything but typical. In 1952, she set out to start her adult life at the University of Iowa. She marches in protests and diligently studies the science of the mind. She also gets married and has a child. Young and in love, she suddenly finds herself doing battle with what it means to be a mother and wife when her heart is telling her she wants to be so much more.

Shirley abandons the simple life for a life of academia, meeting new friends, expanding her mind, and eventually divorcing. As a single mother, she pursues a doctorate in psychology and specializes in special education. With a new marriage under her belt, she and her husband move to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Shirley becomes the principal of a groundbreaking school for children with learning disabilities.

As she watches her third marriage crumble, Shirley soon finds the life she always wanted. A whirlwind romance turns into a lifetime of travel with a new love named Fred, who takes her to places she only dreamed of. 

Middle age descends upon Shirley and she grapples for what it means to be a woman on her own, a mother who could have done better, and an aging human who continually reinvents herself as her loved ones die. The Marginal Woman: Loving, Living, and Breaking Boundaries in a Pre-Feminist World is a study in the human spirit and what it means to find new life when the odds are stacked against you.

About the Author: 

Born in Marshalltown, Iowa, Dr. Shirley White Pearl attended Coe College and the University of Iowa, where she received undergraduate degrees in psychology and journalism. She subsequently received a Ph. D. in educational psychology from the University of Iowa, where she developed educational curricula for elementary students, giving them tools for dealing with life's problems, thus serving as a possible prevention for developing maladjusted behaviors. Dr. Pearl served as educational director of the childrens' unit at Independence Mental Health Hospital in Independence, Iowa. She later worked with the St. Paul Public Schools to develop and administer programs for children with behavior problems. Her first memoir, The Occasional Man, was published in 2012. She resides in St. Paul, Minnesota where she remains actively engaged in writing and life.