Summary and book reviews of Granny D by Doris Haddock

Granny D

Walking Across America in My Ninetieth Year

By Doris Haddock

Granny D
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2001,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2003,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

"There's a cancer, and it's killing our democracy. A poor man has to sell his soul to get elected. I cry for this country."

On February 29, 2000, ninety-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock completed her 3,200-mile, fourteen-month walk from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. She walked through 105-degree deserts and blinding blizzards, despite arthritis and emphysema. Along her way, her remarkable speeches -- rich with wisdom, love, and political insight -- transformed individuals and communities and jump-started a full-blown movement. She became a national heroine.

On her journey, Haddock kept a diary -- tracking the progress of her walk and recalling events in her life and the insights that have given her. Granny D celebrates an exuberant life of love, activism, and adventure -- from writing one-woman feminist plays in the 1930s to stopping nuclear testing near an Eskimo fishing village in 1960 to Haddock’s current crusade. Threaded throughout is the spirit of her beloved hometown of Dublin/Peterborough, New Hampshire -- Thornton Wilder’s inspirations for Grovers Croner in Out Town -- a quintessentially American center of New England pluck, Yankee ingenuity and can-do attitude.

Told in Doris Haddock’s distinct and unforgettable voice, Granny D will move, amuse, and inspire readers of all ages with its clarion message that one person can indeed make a difference.

Book I

Desert Overture

To begin a day's walk in California's Mojave Desert is like stepping into a child's drawing: Odd, Dr. Seuss-style cacti interrupt a dot pattern of endlessly repeating gray bushes; the sky is crayoned a solid, royal blue with a brilliant sun; layers of purple hills extend in endless vistas to the next valley and next again. There are no sounds but the mesquite-scented breezes whishing lightly across the brittlebush and the occasional flinch of some tiny, prehistoric creature under dry sticks a few paces ahead.

After I had walked a hundred miles of the Mojave through pleasant days and bitter cold nights, the winds began to rise. Dust blew across the highway and whipped around, more than once sending me staggering. It grabbed my straw hat repeatedly and sent it wheeling across the highway. It was my late friend Elizabeth's poor old garden hat, and it was not to last much longer--nor were my old bones, I thought.

Even at its harshest, the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Book

"There's a cancer, and it's killing our democracy. A poor man has to sell his soul to get elected. I cry for this country."

On February 29, 2000, ninety-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock completed her 3,200-mile, fourteen-month walk from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. She walked through 105-degree deserts and blinding blizzards, despite arthritis and emphysema. Along her way, her remarkable speeches -- rich with wisdom, love, and political insight -- transformed individuals and communities and jump-started a full-blown movement. She became a national heroine.

On her journey, Haddock kept a diary -- tracking the progress of her walk and recalling events in her life and the insights that have given her. ...
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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Haddock, already a mediagenic spitfire, is sure to draw crowds. Haddock's inspiring message is perfect fodder for family and schoolroom discussions about politics; with the book's low price, retailers should anticipate strong sales.

Library Journal

Granny D Haddock is a national treasure whose 14-month odyssey walking from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, galvanized the hope of many increasingly disspirited Americans for campaign finance reform. Granny D undertook this journey despite arthritis and emphysema, celebrating her 90th birthday along the way. Following her daily regimen of ten miles, Haddock wrote nightly for two hours. The resulting journal, written with Burke, who accompanied her on the trek, is a multilayered memoir, populist reform treatise, roadside nature field book, Whitmanesque treatment of America, and philosophical summation of a life well spent.

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