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Paperback Peyton Place Book

ISBN: 1555534007

ISBN13: 9781555534004

Peyton Place

(Book #1 in the Peyton Place Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Small town secrets

I loved "Peyton Place!" Written in 1956, this book caused a commotion when it was published due to its many illicit topics, which were considered very taboo at the time. More than 50 years later, this book still triumphs as an excellent portrayal of a small New England town full of mysterious characters and many hidden secrets. Allison MacKenzie is the central character of the novel, which is set between 1937 and 1944. Allison is a young schoolgirl who struggles to find acceptance and contentment among her classmates and also pines away for her missing father. Meanwhile, Allison's mother, Constance, fights her attraction to the school's new headmaster, Tom Makris, while fighting to keep the truth about Allison's father under wraps. There are many other people roaming around Peyton Place, including Selena Cross, a classmate of Allison's who falls in love with the charming Ted Carter but hides the disturbing truth about the reality of her home life. Leslie Harrington is the richest man in town and is used to getting his way with everything, but he refuses to try and tame his son, Rodney, who spirals out of control. Add to the bunch a respected physician, two nasty spinster sisters, and the town drunks, and you have all the makings of a fantastic novel complete with violence, illegitimacy, sex, and everything else you could possibly ask for! Yes, "Peyton Place" is kind of trashy in a "Valley of the Dolls" kind of way, but that doesn't change the fact that it's entertaining and brilliant. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to sink their teeth into a thoroughly engrossing story.

Pleasant surprise

I got this set after reading an excerpt from the new biography of Grace Metalious in "Vanity Fair". I had never read the books, nor seen the movie or the TV series. I thought I would be in for some mildly entertaining reading, but was very pleasantly surprised to discover what a great writer Metalious was. She writes about the town of Peyton Place with beautiful descriptions (especially of seasonal changes in the weather and scenery, which she uses very effectively to develop the mood for each "episode") and delicious wit, but also with great feeling for her characters, loveable and otherwise. Her descriptions of the fashions and social customs of the 1930's and '40's are transporting. This is a great book to take one's mind off one's own cares and worries. "Return To Peyton Place", although enjoyable reading, is not as successful as its predecessor (the most glaring disappointment being that Metalious changed the name of one of the main characters after a lawsuit against her by a man whose name was a little too similar to that of PP's "Tomas Makris"). I wish the author had spent more time developing some of the plot twists introduced, and had explained what had happened to some of the characters from the original novel (e.g., Norman Page). The combination of these two novels in one volume, however, provides great entertainment, and is well worth the purchase price.

A wonderful book deserving of the title "Classic".......

My mother, who was born and raised in New Hampshire, and I were having a conversation about books one afternoon. I told her that I had seen someone on the subway with a copy of Peyton Place, which inspired her to launch into some stories of the controversy that had surrounded the book upon it?s publication, and the scandal that reverberated through small-town New England, with each town trying to figure out if they were the subject of Metalious?s work.I finally read Peyton Place several years ago, long after it wasn?t ?hot stuff? or controversial. Certainly it isn?t shocking by today?s standards but the book presents an interesting view of 1950?s America, far removed from the soda pop and sundae image that nostalgia has tried to recreate.The story centers around Allison McKenzie, a girl coming of age and facing all of the challenges of growing up in a small town without a father. Her mother, Constance, is emotionally distance at the novel?s beginning but warms steadily as she undertakes a romance of her own. Matt Swain is presented as the doctor with a conscience, and the impoverished Cross family provides an ample contrast to the genteel country setting. The book, in many ways, reminds me of Edith Wharton- characters whose lives are woven together in a tremendous fabric of narrative and insight. All characters seem to struggle with the perceived morality forced upon them by the social morays of life in a small town, and the manner in which the deal with problems provides much of the plot that propels this book. In short, this book is wonderful and probably on my top three or four lists of favorites. It?s exciting without being tawdry, and something I wish I had read a long time ago.

Trashy fun --- better than Joan, Sidney, and Danielle!

Having grown up watching the TV series based on this 1956 novel, this reviewer had always intended to someday read the book. I now can certainly see what all the furor was about. Metalious engaged in some very risky writing for that quieter, more conservative time. While anything in this novel seens tame to innocuous by today's standards, after the steamy potboilers of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel, the author's insights into the makeup and less bucolic underpinings of small-town life ring as true as ever. The characters of Alison MacKenzie and her mother, Constance, are vividly alive and resonate with grace and humanity long after the book is through. Metalious' style is often overblown and purple prose abounds, but it is all rather fun and refreshing after much of the bleakness of contemporary fiction. Typically, the Kirkus review above pompously dismisses this as not being an "important" novel and decries its defender from academe as "puffery." Kirkus is well-known for such arrogant historionics and should be promptly ignored by the reading public.

Peyton Place revisited is a different place!

When I first read Peyton Place upon its publication in 1956 this book was considered highly immoral and downright trashy. What kind of woman must this Grace Metalious be to pen such a book? Sinful, sinful was the common consensus. It is a pity that Metalious did not live to see its reprinting. Reading it now from the vantage point of almost 2000, one is shown the underbelly of a small New England town, with all its conflicts and crosscurrents. The story is told simply, with clarity and truth. Shining through is a deep compassion for the weaknesses and failings of humankind. Living in such a town as Peyton Place, the author knew what she was writing about and it shows. Read this book again if you read it before. First time readers, see how simple honesty, skillfully portrayed in the stories of small town life spun here, makes for an exceptionally well written book even in 1999!
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