Granny D: 100 Years of Living Well

A memoir that traces the life of New Hampshire's beloved folk heroine, Doris "Granny D"

From a very young age, she dreamed of being an actress, strutting on a Broadway stage. Could she have imagined - when that dream died - that the stage she was destined to occupy would be so much grander?

"Granny D's American Century" [University Press of New England, $27, cloth; $15.99, eBook] traces the life of New Hampshire's beloved folk heroine, Doris "Granny D" Haddock. ("Granny D" is her actual, legal middle name, changed by a judge in 2004.)

It's written, beautifully written, by Granny D herself with Dennis Michael Burke. Starting with her beginnings in Laconia, the two of them create vivid word pictures that make you feel you're living life right alongside her.

And what a life. Her later life as a political activist - the walk across the country at age 93 in support of campaign finance reform, her run for Senate at age 94, her work for women's rights and voters' rights - is familiar.

What's not is the time in her life before and during the Depression ("the days when Fear Itself stalked the world, and I was young"). You see the already-feisty future Granny D tackle the challenges of the times with courage, wit and hard-won wisdom.

As she says, "It is a matter of creating beautiful things from the broken pieces, and tricking all our pain, even when it seems fathomless, into beauty."

By the time she died after a century of living, it seems she had successfully done just that.

Read the book. Be inspired.

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