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Peyton Place

(Peyton Place #1)

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  9,127 ratings  ·  839 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)
innae Yes! It was a movie shortly after the book was published, and then there is a remake, and some "sequels". It was also a TV show in the 60's.

Another…more
Yes! It was a movie shortly after the book was published, and then there is a remake, and some "sequels". It was also a TV show in the 60's.

Another book that comes to mind for soaps was "Valley of the Dolls" which became a movie. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,127 ratings  ·  839 reviews


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christa
Mar 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doneanddone
... 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.
Diane
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
...more
Tiny Pants
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Adrienne
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Judy Vanderhule
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
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
Jessica
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Elyse Walters
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Angela
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is just one of my fave small town sagas of all time. I love the characters and the story, I recommend this one to everyone. This was considered a soap opera type of story in the era it was written. It was considered scandalous and was written by a reasonably young writer.
Rob
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Shannon
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Misha Crews
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
 Martin
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many of you I was introduced to PEYTON PLACE...
http://sleaze-factor.blogspot.ca/2016...
Lee Anne
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay.

And with that opening line of purple prose, I knew I was in for it.

What a great, trashy book! As Stefon would say, "Summer's hottest read is Peyton Place. This book has everything: rape, murder, abortion, blue balls, virgins, tramps, suicide, drunk driving, dismemberment, cats on rope leashes, and that thing w
...more
Peggy
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Read for the Litsy readalong. I can see why my mom and grandma were scandalized! 😱
Verna
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
...more
Qtilla
Sep 19, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Art the Turtle of Amazing Girth
Obviously, it had some flaws, like flow and time jumps and too many one time characters.

However, the story was fabulous, and the descriptions of the town, it's citizens, and the castle were all amazing.
The ending seemed rushed, and there were a few things I wish that she would've went back to, but all in all, a book worthy of its place in history and the legacy it has left behind.
~☆~Autumn♥♥
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carmen
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it

Peyton Place is a depiction of life in a little town in New England more than seventy years back in time and however it doesn't seem so far away when it comes to judging, stereotyping and criticizing (something we are still very good at)

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 but describes more or less in depth the neighbours of the town, both teenagers and adults who seem to struggle with th
...more
Dianne
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a great gossipy, backstabbing, mysterious, sex filled read. Even though set in the late 1930's and early 1940's and written in 1956, it really pulls no punches. I have read modern 'chick lit' books (and loved them) written in this style and none of them hold a candle to this book.

When I say this book had it all -I really mean it. There was no verboten subject left unwritten -murder, sexual abuse (not described graphically), abortion, premarital sex, vote fixing, religion etc. However b
...more
Susan Liston
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Well well, how have I managed to avoid this one all my life? I well remember the TV series, although I was too young to watch it, I heard the names of Alison and Constance MacKenzie and Rodney Harrington bandied about. I tried to imagine reading it as a Nice 1954 Housewife sitting under the dryer at the beauty parlor and how shocked I might have been, since there is nothing in it that couldn't today be on a daytime soap opera. I mean she hits all the notes, there is lots of "unmarried" sex, girl ...more
Sara Dahmen
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m surprised how many of my contemporaries (those people my age or younger) haven’t read this book. It’s famous!! When it came out, it was utterly scandalous! In fact, I believe it was banned at times or in certain places. It was naughty. I started reading it because it had such a colorful history, for a book, and because I figured I’d see what the hype was for myself. Um. I’m here to say that time cannot jade you for this book. It’s still scandalous, it’s still full of shockers, and every char ...more
Elba Horrocks
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Small town drama written in the 1950's and way ahead of its time. I found it hard to put down and incredulous of the lives of the women in this story. Women have always had it tough but in a small New England town in 1937 it was hard to get anything going if you were not of the right class or breading. This novel rocked the literary world at its core. Just a must read.... Reads like a tabloid...
Ellen Brickley
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mid-20th century novels, written by women and deemed scandalous in their day, are my bag, and this is the chain-smoking, pearl-wearing, vodka-sneaking matriarch for them all.
Brittany Seyb
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-impact
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
...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
Jessaka
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious

I believe I was 20 when this book was turned into a TV series that I just loved, and I am not sure when I began reading the book, but I liked it as well. When I was young I liked the idea of exposing the dirt in a town. Secrets. And this was supposed to be a expose on the people in her town, only the names were changed, but I am not sure anymore. I do know that it caused her a lot of problems back home, and I know that it was based on a murder that had actually hap
...more
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Bibliophiles Anon...: Peyton Place Main Discussion 2 6 Sep 30, 2016 12:23PM  
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Still reading but some thoughts 3 19 Sep 27, 2015 12:46PM  
I do not Understand.... 5 51 Jul 30, 2014 01:21AM  

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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
...more

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