Making Ripples in Wilder's Town:
A Collection of My Favorite Letters to the Editor
by Fran Chapman Trafford Publishing

"We may not be Camelot yet, but we keep it in our sights."

Grab a seat at the Nonie's Bakery counter and "drink your coffee while you read Letters to the Editor" and get to know the people and issues that make a small New Hampshire town tick. Chapman's collection of letters offers an intimate look at the day-to-day workings of Peterborough through the eyes of an active citizen.

Believing that "everyone can make a difference," Chapman has written to regional newspapers for decades, addressing everything from community theater to taxes. A self-described fiscal conservative, Chapman roundly denounces any move to bring a broad-based tax to a state with a proud history of avoiding sales and income taxes. He finds fault with many, from his town's "no-growth" planning committee to the "miserable failure" of the state Legislature on educational issues.

Chapman also doles out praise on occasion, celebrating the town's transition to an official ballot at Town Meeting time and lauding the meticulous work of a local reporter. Whether criticizing or praising, Chapman's opinions are strong and often seem intended to reveal as fools those who disagree with him. His likeability is salvaged, though, by moments of self-effacing humor, as when he wonders what he will do when the Town Clerk leaves his post. "Who will I harass when he's gone?"

Some letters suffer from a lack of context if read singly, but as a whole the collection describes a decade of big changes for the town that was immortalized by Thornton Wilder's play Our Town a hundred years ago.

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