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Peyton Place and Return to Peyton Place (Modern Classics) Hardcover – September 14, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Peyton Place Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Metalious's 1956 novel spawned both a hit feature film and a popular TV series that certainly was the forerunner of all the prime-time soapers that have followed. The paperback reprint features an introduction by scholar Ardis Cameron. (For more on the shifting academic publishing scene, see Inside Track, LJ 4/15/99, p. 74.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Heres an unexpected publication: a new edition, complete with scholarly introduction, of the 1956 succs de scandale that was in its time the single bestselling American novel, inspiring both a nighttime ``television novel'' (i.e., soap opera) and an only slightly less soapy (1958) feature film. Metalious (192464) was a competent writer with some flair whose punchy workmanlike prose efficiently captured her little inland New England hamlet's earthy (if somewhat unbelievably sexually functional) populace. The charactersamong others, Allison MacKenzie, round-heeled Betty Anderson, m.c.p. Rodney Harrington, and longsuffering Selena Crossretain a perversely appealing, pulpy vitality. But scholar Ardis Cameron's assertion that this likeably trashy novel offers a valuable corrective to the myth of quiescent domesticity and class consensus,'' besides gilding the lily indefensibly, confuses its author with Sinclair Lewis, not to mention Gustave Flaubert. Peyton Place is, on its own terms, both a perfectly decent popular novel and an honest one. But it never was an important one, and no amount of retroactive puffery can make it so. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Modern Classics
  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy; First Edition Thus edition (September 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517204770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517204771
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read "Peyton Place" when it was still considered hot stuff and just re-read the book to see how it had held up. Nobody would read it today just for the sexual frankness, when any R-rated movie or bestselling novel can use much more graphic language. But I enjoyed the book; it may not be great literature but it was a good read and not mere trash. Although the book was banned in many places in the Fifties, the kind of everyday profanity Peyton Place's citizens use struck me as pretty genuine.
The book runs from about 1937 to 1944. The central character is Allison McKenzie, but there are any number of characters whose consciousness the author easily slips into: Allison's emotionally distant mother Constance, the new school superintendent Tom Makris, the town doctor Matt Swain, Allison's poverty-stricken friend Selena Cross, dedicated teacher Elsie Thornton and many others. I think it's one of the virtues of this book that Metalious creates so many believable characters, both male and female, with such apparent ease and economy.
Peyton Place the town is a major character in the book, and everyone lives in fear of it, because it demands the appearance of perfection from all its citizens and thus condones hypocrisy and condemns human frailty. But Peyton Place isn't unique; it's a microcosm of a sexually repressive society. If someone describes your office as "a regular 'Peyton Place'," you can bet that harassment follows in the path of the hijinks. Big city or small town, there's a little "Peyton Place" in us all, even in these more liberated times.
I would recommend that readers save the introduction to the novel until after they have read it because it gives too much of the plot away.
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Format: Paperback
The clear, eloquent writing of Metalious immediately seized my attention. The steady, powerful development of characters aroused my interests and kept me eagerly anticipating their experiences. The damnation of this literary jewel in 1956 provides excellent insight to the era. Although much has changed since 1956; the scandals, struggles and experiences depicted in the novel seem to have remained the same. I read this book thinking that there would be vast differences in what would have constituted a scandal then versus now. What I learned is that people's behavior hasn't changed much at all but our reactions have become more muted, and our tolerance greater. Peyton Place is a depiction of life. Then and now. Change the publication date and the characters, and experiences are as true now as they were then. Mitalious managed to capture the essence of life conflict and struggle in a manner that is timeless and continuous. I'll read this book again in 20 years and I expect that it will still provide a realistic view of life experiences and behavior. This novel is a must in everyone's library!
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
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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