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Peyton Place (Peyton Place #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  5,874 ratings  ·  549 reviews
First published in 1956, PEYTON PLACE uncovers the passions, lies and cruelties that simmer beneath the surface of a postcard-perfect town. At the centre of the novel are three women, each with a secret to hide: Constance MacKenzie, the original desperate housewife; her daughter Allison, whose dreams are stifled by small-town small-mindedness; and Selena Cross, her gypsy-e ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 1999 by Northeastern University Press (first published 1956)
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Aida You need to put yourself into the time frame which the book was published (1956), before the sexual revolution, before birth control or having sex…moreYou need to put yourself into the time frame which the book was published (1956), before the sexual revolution, before birth control or having sex before marriage. Child abuse/sexual abuse was a hidden concept, not published or litigated openly to the public. (less)

Community Reviews

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Diane D.
I thought this book was excellent and I give the author cudos for writing this book when she did and to the publisher for publishing it. I was waffling at 4.5 stars and given this plus the author's writing I decided to rate it 5 on GR rather than down to 4 (since GR doesn't offer 1/2 stars).

I felt like a 'nosy neighbor' (of Peyton Place) reading this book. It's not a gripping page turner, for me it was a book to be savored (it took me a month to read it!) I was very involved with each of the mai
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christa
... more like melrose place. i couldn't put it down. part of me wished i was reading it in 1951, hiding the copy in a clothes hamper next to a bottle of vodka.
Tiny Pants
I had to go down to four stars because I thought the ending fizzled, but this was darn close to a five-star read. I was expecting something lurid a la Jacqueline Susann, but this is actually more like a New England-y version of To Kill a Mockingbird -- class conflict, racism, and closely-kept secrets in a small town. The other closest comparison would be to Stephen King, in that Peyton Place features an enormous cast of very New England-y characters, as well as many digressions into their though ...more
Michael Borowski
Without a question, my favorite read of all-time. I've re-read it every Fall since my first time in 1986.
Forget about the naysayers who write it off as mere soap, Metalious' earthy descriptions of the seasons alone are worth it. Anyone from a small town will be able to relate, but this is a MUST for anyone from a New England smalltown. We summered next door to the small town upon which this novel was based, and this one hits the nail right on the head. Enjoy!
And if you do like it, I highly sugge
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Jessica
SCANDALOUS!

Yes, even by today's standards this book is quite the scandalous read. I've heard it spoken of with winks and nudges since I was a kid, and finally decided to read it and . . . . well! Affairs, abortions, drunken benders, legal and political machinations, unhappy marriages, abuse, swears, religious crises, it's all there! Peyton Place seems like a nice, quiet little town, until you peer behind the curtains, and then the ugly underbelly is revealed. The book was highly addictive, told
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Adrienne
Apr 20, 2010 Adrienne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Adrienne by: J~rod Andersons review
Shelves: library-loan
One of the many things I remember from my childhood home is my mothers bookshelf which included the usual Readers Digest Omnibus books, a copy of Teach Yourself Italian, Norah Lofts, a book about Shackletons Adventures in Antarctica, Lady Chatterleys Lover and Peyton PLace. I can't remember if any of the books ever moved from their place on that shelf (which would indicate that someone was reading them) my mother never spoke about either of the two banned books and I was never, even slightly int ...more
Joanne Renaud
At times reminiscent of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or the sprawling New England cast of IT, PEYTON PLACE starts out strong, but eventually sags under the weight of too many characters and too many plotlines. The friendship of Selena Cross and Allison MacKenzie is pretty interesting, and I became especially invested in Selena. Unfortunately, the two characters drift apart, and the focus is lost. You know you're in trouble if more ink is spent on Allison having sex with her married boyfriend, a guy who ...more
Elyse
I read this many years ago --
Saw the movie --
Watched the TV series --

I guess you can say I was hooked even as a young woman --

It was the Fifty Shades of Gray in 'its' day ---(even people who closed their eyes to 'such trash' were engaged in conversations about Peyton Place)

I'm now about to begin the novel "Unbuttoning America" by Ardis Cameron. A more academic book about the history and culture influence of 'Peyton Place'. Sound be interesting!
Shannon
I got a beaten up original copy from Goodwill for 10 cents, and have probably reread it 20 times in the past few years. This book must have been truly revolutionary when it was first published. Metalious manages to flesh out the town's entire population. The omniscient point of view gives a very realistic depiction of a town on the surface, and all the complicated, corrupt, hidden undercurrents. If you've ever read Salem's Lot, Stephen King wrote it as a supernatural version of Peyton Place.
Becky
Wow-I know I read this many years ago & parts of it felt like I had just read it last week & other parts I had no recollection of at all....this must have been sizzling hot when it came out!!!
I felt a little bit To Kill A Mockingbird, a little of A tree Grows In Brooklyn, some Valley Of The Dolls & a little wee bit of Owen Meany....a very well written story, the descriptions of New England & small town life felt spot on to me....& I loved the character development.....

You can
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Rob
I don't mean to cause any offense to people who grew up in the fifties, but in a way I'm glad that I didn't come of age then. It seems hard to understand the criticisms that were thrown at this book in that time. I agree with the author when she said "to talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without glass."

I look back at what I was taught in Literature classes, that things like symbolism are what make a novel great, and all that just seems like c
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Judy Vanderhule
I must confess. I read this book on a bit of a lark. This is the only book my mother ever forbid me to read. Back in the 50s when it first came out, it was all the rage, but considered quite shocking by many midwesterners. At the time, I was too young to care whether or not I read. I had too many other fun things to do. Over the years I thought about reading it several times, but never followed through. It took me over 30 years to finally sit down and read it. It is a remarkable and powerful boo ...more
Misha Crews
This is one of those books whose very title has become part of the American lexicon, and now I understand why! PEYTON PLACE is full of multi-faceted characters -- none of them all good, none of them all bad, but all of them memorable. With enviable skill and obvious love, Grace Metalious paints a vivid picture of a small New England town and the people who live, die and love there.

What I learned most from reading this book is that the literary seeds which Metalious planted with this novel have
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Verna
I like this book very much. Grace Metalious was way ahead of her time when she wrote Peyton Place. I felt I was reading a contemporary novel not a work of fiction written during the 1950's. I can see why society at that time was not ready for this book. Peyton Place revealed too much. All of the evils of society normally swept under the rug are confronted in this important book. Metalious was a woman of remarkable courage and insight. I think this book has been mislabeled and not seen for the fi ...more
Qtilla
I read this book the first time at about 16 and was blown away. Now rereading it as an adult I find many problems with it. I'm sure very few will agree, but while it was interesting I couldn't find much sympathy for most of the characters. And (probably related to that) was rather emotionally untouched by this book. (For contrast I cried at the movie Up- within the first 5 minutes.) I felt as though ants were being smashed. It was a parade of the grotesque. Tragedy after tragedy with surprisingl ...more
Maria João Fernandes
"O amor não é estático. Muda, pode crescer, pode mingar, e até desaparecer. O importante, quando o amor se extingue, é recordar o que tivemos e esquecer o que perdemos."

Grace Metalious expõe a falsidade de uma pequena cidade chamada Peyton Place, denunciando as diferentes camadas sociais que se destacam pelo poder económico, mas que se assemelham nos comportamentos hipócritas. A autora sabia o que queria dizer sobre os boatos, a vergonha e as relações de uma cidade pequena e foi, com alguma ousa
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Roberta
L'estate indiana è come una donna: morbida, calda, appassionata, ma incostante. Va e viene come e quando le pare e nessuno sa se arriverà davvero né per quanto si tratterrà.

Grace Metalious non è certo la prima a scrivere dell'ipocrisia e della doppiezza di quella società, ma è una donna ed è la prima donna normale a farlo, e non una signora di New York educata in qualche buona università. E' una casalinga di campagna, sboccata e brusca, "la casalinga che ha scritto un bestseller", e non si è lim
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Brittany Seyb
Wow! "Peyton Place" is actually a good book, no a really good book. I truly wasn't expecting this from knowing that it was a bestseller that rocked the continental United States for it's scandalous content. I thought it would be a lame story about a lame place in New England that was dated and basically that the story was crap. But that was not the case after all.

The truth of the matter is that the issues in this book are still quite relevant today, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Look
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Brenda Pike
There is a part of me that's disappointed that Peyton Place isn't as steamy as its reputation. Teenage fumblings, incest and accidental pregnancies aren't really all that titillating. But I guess it just makes sense that what was scandalous in 1956 isn't today. However, it's a good book, and I feel bad that its quality has been overshadowed by its infamy.

The town of Peyton Place is remarkably reminiscent of the town I grew up in. From the claustrophobic atmosphere, to the mill bosses all living
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Jennifer Daniel
Wow! A bit of a shocker even now so I can see why this caused such an uproar when it came out in the 50's. I just loved Doc Swain. He was by far my favorite. Constance was such a prude until the end when she finally got over herself. Norman reminded me so much of Eddie Casbrack from It that it was eerie! I hear there is a sequel, I may have to check it out.
Debbie
This book started off REAAAAAALLLY slow for me. But once I got into it, I enjoyed it a lot. The adults were all a bit crazy. I think Selena was probably my favorite character! It was pretty risque for the time period in which it was written.
Angela Hunt
My book club just read PEYTON PLACE in light on the new book, HIT LIT. We wanted to see how the elements listed in HIT LIT played out in Peyton Place to make it a best seller in its day. Social issues, cynicism toward religion, secret societies, sexual tension, active rather than introspective characters--all the elements were there. Reading it in 2012 was interesting--many of the elements considered scandalous in the book's heyday would be considered humdrum today. A good read, but I can see wh ...more
Malbadeen
I heard this book referenced enough in a pop culture context, that when I saw it at a garage sale this summer for 2.00 or whatever I figured it was worth taking so I could nod a little more knowingly if it ever came up again.
I read it over the course of a week of camping in Washington, It wasn't exactly competition for all that Mt Rainer had to offer but it was a main staple for the first few days. I grabbed it whenever we had a down minute and a while I mockingly announced to my husband that I
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Tejas Janet
Can comfortably give 3.5 stars but not 4. Didn't like it enough for that though I was more impressed with the writing than I was expecting/fearing. Yes, it is sensationalist, racy by the 1950's standards when it was first published, but it's all necessary to the plot of revealing the secret underbelly of "idyllic" life in a New England small town. For me, it didn't end strongly enough to merit a higher rating though there is some very good, solid writing on display here, and this is a more serio ...more
Bill
Excellent story. I was drawn in right from the start and enjoyed it throughout. I had seen portions of the movie based on the book and also as a youngster, vaguely recall watching the TV series. Once I heard there was a book, I had to try it out and I wasn't disappointed. It was similar in some ways to books like; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and To Kill a Mockingbird, especially in the aspect of telling a story from a small town perspective. But it was also very different, as it focussed on the ...more
Núria
‘Peyton Place’ fue escrito en los años 50; el éxito fue tan grande que luego llegó una secuela. Después, la novela se convirtió en película, y finalmente en serie de televisión, que probablemente es la forma que más le pegue a esta historia, porque al fin y al cabo es un culebrón. Lo sabía antes de empezarlo, pero aún así me esperaba más. No sé, esperaba engancharme más y empatizar más con los personajes. Tiene las virtudes de un culebrón: se lee rápido, y no aburre sino que entretiene. Pero ta ...more
Roberta
Finalmente mi sono decisa a rileggerlo. Per quanto abbia cercato di evitarlo, mi sono trovata più volte a pensare che, mezzo secolo fa, questo romanzo era ritenuto scandaloso come oggi sono scandalose le 50 sfumature di grigio.
Peyton Place è però più onesto. La piccola cittadina americana, coi suoi pettegolezzi, i suoi ubriaconi, l'avidità e il sesso è molto più reale di tutti i deliri di E. L. James. La cittadina è una comunità chiusa, con i suoi pro e i suoi contro. Ne vediamo il lato positiv
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Kristel
I've read this book twice, once in high school and again for f2f book club in February 2008. It was published in 1956. The setting is 1920 to 1940 in a New England Town. I was not happy to read this book. I enjoyed it better in high school. Too many bad things happened with no one theme. Too many characters with little character development. I don't believe it was very believable though it touched on some very real social concerns.

"Most surprising book on the best seller list (1956) was Peyton P
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Jennie -  Webbweaver Reviews
I really liked this book. It was written in 1956 and contains scenes which were considered scandalous. However, even when I read this as a younger woman in the late eighties I really liked the way the author portrayed the characters and the realities which, even though were unspoken, were still happening. Oh, the hypocrisy! I loved this book.
Deb
Found a 1956 Dell paperback copy while sorting out my in-laws' things. It was marked 50 cents. On the back cover was picture of the author with the caption the young blue-jeaned housewife.
What an amazing and scandalous story and character study for that time period. Loved where the story was set and smiled when Manchester VT was mentioned having just visited there last year.
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Grace Metalious was an American author, best known for the controversial novel Peyton Place.

She was born into poverty and a broken home as Marie Grace de Repentigny in the mill town of Manchester, New Hampshire. Blessed with the gift of imagination, she was driven to write from an early age. After graduating from Manchester High School Central, she married George Metalious in 1943, became a housew
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More about Grace Metalious...

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“There can be neither beauty, nor trust, nor security between a man and a woman if there is not truth.” 17 likes
“The public loves to create a hero....Sometimes I think they do it for the sheer joy of knocking him down from the highest peak. Like a child who builds a house of blocks and then destroys it with one vicious kick.” 12 likes
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