12.8.10

Book Review: Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

Switch off those TVs, kill your mobiles and settle down with the most controversial book ever written. Once denounced as 'wicked', 'sordid', 'cheap moral filth' Peyton Place was the top read of its time, selling millions of copies worldwide.
Way before Twin Peaks, Survivor or Big Brother, the curtains were twitching in the mythical New England town of Peyton Place, and this soapy story exposed the dirty secrets of 1950s small town America: incest, abortion, adultery, repression and lust.
This book is so, so good, it was the brilliant reviews on Savidge Reads and Novel Insights that made me want to read it and I am so glad I did.
Grace Metalious's writing is wonderful, it feels as though she has made you a homemade glass of lemonade and invited you to sit on her front porch so you can watch the events of Peyton Place unfold. Whilst this book us probably not that shocking to readers in 2010, I can understand why it was banned in the 1950s and caused such uproar.
Grace Metalious was extremely brave to write about so many controversial subjects in one book: incest, rape, abortion, illegitimate children, murder and so on. It's quite sad in a way that we are not overly shocked to come across such subjects in current books but at the time of publication these must have been a surprise to some readers.
Allison Mackenzie is the character who ties the whole story together, we watch her grow up as the story unfolds. Peyton Place has many characters, you would think it would get quite confusing but instead you have a feeling that you are moving into a small town and meeting all the neighbours.
I loved the idea that to the outsider, Peyton Place is a sleepy town where nothing exciting happens whereas it is really a hot bed of scandal and gossip, rife with secrets and misconceptions.
I think that in many ways this book is beautifully timeless and will be relevant for many years to come, I would highly recommend giving this one a go, you wouldn't regret it.

9 comments:

verity said...

I was hooked by this one too - as you say, surprisingly timeless. There's a sequel too I believe which I'd be interested to read though it doesn't have this one's fame.

Dot said...

Verity- I didn't know there was a sequel, I shall have to find out more!

Simon (Savidge Reads) said...

I tried to comment on this earlier but have serious iPhone fail with blogger anyway...

Phew! You loved it, I am so pleased. I am also really pleased you loved her writing because I think people (like my Gran no less) think she cant write for toffee because of the controversy this book caused!! Lovely review.

Dot said...

Simon- I really did enjoy her writing, I am going to try and find out about the sequel as I would love to know what happens in Peyton Place.

yvonne said...

Hi Dot,

The follow up is called 'Return To Peyton Place' and is available from Amazon.

fiction-books said...

Hi Dot,

There was a second book called "Return To Peyton Place" and there are still copies available to buy on Amazon

Yvonne

Dot said...

Yvonne and fiction-books- Thank you! Off to Amazon right now! xx

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I read this last month, and was hooked as well. I agree, the novel is timeless, and the lives of the people surprisingly (maybe even ironically) exciting.

Dot said...

anothercookiecrumbles- It's so good isn't it, I'm going to try and get hold of the sequel and find out what happens next.

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