Jenny Boylan on What Monsters Can Teach Us

Jennifer Boylan (English) and sons Zach, left, and Sean, who served as“consultants” for Boylan’s new novel, Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

By Sarah Braunstein

Photos by: Heather Perry ’93

Colby English Professor Jennifer Boylan isn’t afraid of ghosts. Or monsters. Or, for that matter, metaphors. When it comes down to it, Boylan doesn’t seem afraid of much at all—and she has written a bold new book asking young readers (and adults, for that matter) to think again about the scary things in their own lives.

In Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror, Boylan takes us on a wild ride, daring readers to share an adventure story, explore the possibilities of identity, and figure out just what it means to “be yourself.”

At 13 we all feel like monsters. Our bodies and voices aren’t our own. Our parents have become strangers. We’re forced to decode a new and complex social order. Adolescence is brutal—for Falcon Quinn, it’s doubly challenging. One day this plucky, kind-hearted kid from Cold River, Maine, boards what appears to be a regular school bus and is shuttled at harrowing speed to a supernatural boarding school on a mysterious island. There he is greeted by Mrs. Redflint, a no-nonsense administrator who happens to breathe fire. Contrary to what he’s always believed, Falcon is not human, Mrs. Redflint announces.

Welcome, friends, to the Academy for Monsters. (Click here for the full story)

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One Comment

  1. DMc
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great picture.

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  • The Boylan Family, summer 2010

    DSC_0063 "You hang around our family, you learn all kinds of stuff."
  • Will Forte as Jennifer Finney Boylan on “Saturday Night Live”

    WiFo-Jennifer Finney Boylan-1
  • Jenny with Barbara Walters, December, 2008

  • Jenny atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin

    2036947979_34bfbec240 August, 2002.
  • Surrounded

    boylanWith President Clinton and Maine's Governor John Baldacci, fall 2006.
  • JFB and Edward Albee


    Edward had been my teacher at Johns Hopkins in the winter of 1986. He visited Colby in fall, 2007. As we took our leave of each other, he kissed me on both cheeks and said, "We have done well. You and I."

  • Jenny and her teacher, the great John Barth


    Jack was my professor at JHU when I did my thesis, back in the day. After many years, I can now confidently say I finally understand his definition of plot. Which is, of course, "the perturbation of an unstable homeostatic system and its catastrophic restoration to a new and complexified equilibrium."