Customer Reviews for

Peyton Place

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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(11)

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(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

The American "Spring Awakening." A surprisingly relevant story!

I was a small child when the TV series "Payton Place" was on TV, and my parents and their friends all watched this "scandalous" (by mid 1960's standards) prime time soap opera. In my teens I saw the 1959 film version starring Lana Turner, and didn't think it was quite a...
I was a small child when the TV series "Payton Place" was on TV, and my parents and their friends all watched this "scandalous" (by mid 1960's standards) prime time soap opera. In my teens I saw the 1959 film version starring Lana Turner, and didn't think it was quite as "soap opery" as the TV show. In my 30's I read the novel and was actually much more impressed with the story the book tells. In mym opinion neither the 50's film version or the 60's TV series did the story justice.

I think this is a book that is screaming to be remade into a film. The theme of the story (bigotry and sexual phobias forced upon adolescents by overly conservative and/or religious adults--and adult panic over liberal siocial values influencing their young teenagers) is--if anything--more relevant today (2009) than it was in the 1960's.

What struck me with the novel (as opposed to the Film and TV series) was the TIME setting of the story: the 1930's Great Depression Era. That the time period was underplayed in the film and thrown out in the TV series (which was set in the 1960's) is important.

Also the AGE of the main characters is important. In the film all the "teens" were played by adults in their early 20's; in the TV series the "teens" were actually no longer teens but adults. In the novel the main characters are between 14 and 18 years of age. THEY ARE KIDS who know NOTHING about life (much less sex) and they are kept ignorance by their parents (who are in their 30's and early 40's) and who have their own "sins" to hide. The result is that the kids are increasingly isolated emotionally from their parents, and then either make tragic choices or become victims of predatory adults.

Consider the characters: ALLISON, the 14 year old, obedient, an A student who dreams of one day being a writer; who is bored with Peyton Place; who secretly questions everything she's been taught--and who has no idea that she is illegitimate; has no idea that her mother is guilt ridden over having had a baby out of wedlock by a man who was married to someone else.

NORMAN, Allison's cloest male friend; a 14 year old introvert who is teased for being a sissy--and whom we would today classify as a closeted gay youth.

SELENA--14 years old, Allison's best from a dirt poor family living on the out skirts of town; who is raped by her stepfather and then secretly has an abortion--which sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to a scandoulous trial.
The controversial aspects of the novel are STILL controversial: the place of sex education in the public school system; young women giving birth out of wedlock; the debate over abortion rights; teens coming to terms with their sexuality.
I think a film version--more faithful to the novel--that presents the story as PERIOD PIECE set during the Great Depression and the opening years of World War II--and featuring REAL 14-18 year old actors in the main roles would be a BIG hit!
And it would revive interest in this book.

posted by dec0558 on January 31, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Shocking!

We read this for our book group, and while the writing style lacked polish, and several of the plot twists lacked depth or explanation, it is a courageous book for its time. To expose small town hypocrisy in such a way as to excite purient interest was hotly debated as ...
We read this for our book group, and while the writing style lacked polish, and several of the plot twists lacked depth or explanation, it is a courageous book for its time. To expose small town hypocrisy in such a way as to excite purient interest was hotly debated as necessary, and this book made for a very lively discussion by those who could not stand it, to those who found in it a socially redeeming value.

posted by WarriorChik on January 3, 2010

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    Shocking!

    We read this for our book group, and while the writing style lacked polish, and several of the plot twists lacked depth or explanation, it is a courageous book for its time. To expose small town hypocrisy in such a way as to excite purient interest was hotly debated as necessary, and this book made for a very lively discussion by those who could not stand it, to those who found in it a socially redeeming value.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted April 26, 2010

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    Posted May 19, 2012

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