Peyton Place

Peyton Place

Book - 1999
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When Grace Metalious's debut novel about the dark underside of a small, respectable New England town was published in 1956, it quickly soared to the top of the bestseller lists. A landmark in twentieth-century American popular culture, Peyton Place spawned a successful feature film and a long-running television series--the first prime-time soap opera.Contemporary readers of Peyton Place will be captivated by its vivid characters, earthy prose, and shocking incidents. Through her riveting, uninhibited narrative, Metalious skillfully exposes the intricate social anatomy of a small community, examining the lives of its people--their passions and vices, their ambitions and defeats, their passivity or violence, their secret hopes and kindnesses, their cohesiveness and rigidity, their struggles, and often their courage.This new paperback edition of Peyton Place features an insightful introduction by Ardis Cameron that thoroughly examines the novel's treatment of class, gender, race, ethnicity, and power, and considers the book's influential place in American and New England literary history.
Publisher: Boston : Northeastern University Press, ©1999.
ISBN: 9781555534004
1555534007
Characteristics: xxx, 372 pages. ;,22 cm.

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MsStella Dec 21, 2010

Classic read, about small town life that still applies to today.


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rpavlacic
Feb 20, 2020

What is the biggest adult fiction novel of the 20th century? Not The Godfather. Not To Kill a Mockingbird. Not The Grapes of Wrath. It is "Peyton Place," which sold a stunning 20 million copies upon its publication in 1956, despite efforts of many libraries and booksellers - and even entire countries - to ban it.

The book is about small town life in New England, from about 1939 to 1944. With the war in the background, the book's central character, Allison Mackenzie, finds herself increasingly disenchanted with her hometown and the hypocrisies that abound - rape, incest, abortion, extramarital relationships, and the constant backstabbing among the town's business owners and residents. All to the point where she starts chronicling the antics, first in her town's paper, then for regional and even national magazines.

From today's perspective, the book is rather tame. But it is a reminder that the lack of values crosses the urban / rural divide and is a timeless problem. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is nonetheless rewarding.

c
Cecilturtle
Nov 11, 2012

This book can easily be taken out of context of its original closeted 50s: domestic abuse considered normal as long as you pay your taxes, alcoholism with no consequences but unwanted pregnancies and homosexuality hidden at all costs. For this, Cameron's introduction is a must read because it sets the stage: this novel is a shocker to be sure, full of terrible secrets, but it's also a critique of the times - the hypocrisy, the lies, the un-lived lives due to shame.
Passages of the book are lengthy (book 3 with Allison's pseudo-emancipation, notably), the weather imagery is rather heavy, but there are also some terrible, cruel remarks which resonate today still, including Harrington's buy-off of Betty Anderson or Swain's torment over his act.
This novel is a mix: soap opera and social criticism - either way, the reader will be rewarded.

t
texasbooks
Oct 01, 2012

I have always enjoyed reading peyton place over the years. I hope others enjoy it too. It seems things happen in small towns just like in big cities.

l
Logovore
Nov 17, 2011

I can certainly see how this would have shocked and appalled people when it first came out. In a post-modern context it now seems, for the most part, fairly tame. As a classic small-town novel, it reads very well.

MsStella Dec 21, 2010

Classic read, about small town life that still applies to today.

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rpavlacic
Feb 20, 2020

rpavlacic thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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