Route One Reads is a virtual reading trip along Route One. The Center for the Book in each state along Route One was asked to select a biography for adult readers.
We wanted a biography that told the story of a native life in the Granite State. We had lots of books to choose from, check out past book-of-the-week biographies for a sample, and ultimately decided to feature Kookooland, Gloria Norris's story of her gritty urban upbringing in Northern New England's largest city. If this story rings a bell for you it may be because you read the Calvin Trillin article about Norris's extended family and their problems in the New Yorker in 1978.
It's the 1960s in
Manchester, New Hampshire and Gloria Norris is growing up in the projects
with her family. A photo might show a happy, young family, but things
aren't as they appear. Jimmy's a wiseguy who relies on charm, wit and an
unyielding belief that he's above the law; and his youngest daughter,
Gloria, is just like him. Or at least, she knows that she needs to stay
on his good side. When an unspeakable act of violence shakes her to her
core, Gloria's fiery determination takes shape and she sets herself on a
path away from the cycle of violence whirling around her. That path
will eventually take her to NYC where she will work as an assistant to
film directors Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen and then
to Los Angeles where she is now a screenwriter and independent