‘Driving Backwards’ author to speak at Laconia Public Library at 7 p.m. tonight

LACONIA — Author Jessica Landry will be reading from her book ''Driving Backwards: A Luminous Portrait of Small-Town New  Hampshire'' tonight at 7 p.m. at the Laconia Library.

For a moment, Gilmanton, New Hampshire, was the most notorious place in America. In 1956, it was the inspiration for Peyton Place, the blockbuster novel about an archetypical New England town ripped open by scandal and hypocrisy.

Today, Gilmanton is a microcosm of rural revival, filled with profiles of remarkable everyday farmers, and energized with the grit and history that is at the core of New England towns. Driving Backwards elevates the ordinary and encourages a deeper appreciation for the stories that surround us. In Driving Backwards, readers meet vibrant men and women who live in this bedrock central New Hampshire town: David Bickford -- a fireman, carpenter, town selectman and nearly one hundred year old storyteller; Valerie, who tends sixty-five goats, home-schools ten children and crafts artisanal goat cheese; Jim and Cheryl, who raise miniature horses, flocks of chickens and long eared rabbits all on two tiny acres.

Jack Beatty, Senior Editor of The Atlantic, author and NPR News Analyst wrote of Driving Backwards, "I didn't want it to end.''

Books will be available for purchase and signing. Lander is a freelance journalist living in Cambridge, MA. As a child she spent her summers in Gilmanton.