Peyton Place

Metalious, Grace

Book - 1999
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Peyton Place
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: 1555534007
Branch Call Number: FIC METALIO 1999
Characteristics: xxx, 372 p. ; 22 cm


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Nov 11, 2012
  • Cecilturtle rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Oct 01, 2012
  • texasbooks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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.

Nov 17, 2011
  • Logovore rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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.

Dec 21, 2010
  • MsStella rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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


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