Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Peyton Place

Peyton Place

4.0 26
by Grace Metalious

See All Formats & Editions

A new paperback edition of the infamous novel that shocked the nation


A new paperback edition of the infamous novel that shocked the nation

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“a rip-roaring good yarn. If the term ‘page turner’ has any complimentary meaning, it applies here...[Grace] Metalious has lasted as a force in American life.”—Washington Times

“Ten years ago, Ardis Cameron, a professor at the University of Southern Maine, was astonished to discover the title was out of print, and mounted a one-woman campaign to resurrect it. She eventually persuaded Northeastern University Press to reissue the novel, and wrote a Camille Paglia-worthy introduction that casts Grace as a literary Joan of Arc, sword drawn, swinging at the oppressive social conventions of the 50s. The book, says Cameron, "spoke about things that were not discussed in polite society, and allowed people to talk about all sorts of issues -- but particularly their own sense of being different in the 1950s.”—Vanity Fair

"The most pointful thing about rereading this book is the fact that what was clear and present and shocking in those benighted days—hasn't gone away. Sure, the questions are being dealt with instead of shoved under a rug—but they're still around. And debated." —Courier-Gazette (ME)

“Metalious is well on her way to academic respectability, too. Ardis Cameron, an English professor at the University of Southern Maine, helped get Peyton Place back between soft covers a few years ago with an introduction describing it as "America's first blockbuster" and a key to understanding both the stifling cultural conformity of the 1950s and the first stirrings of rebellion against it.”—The Independent

“Peyton Place, six decades on. In 1999 Northeastern University Press reissued it in its Hardscrabble Books line of novels devoted to New England. It remains in print today, ever reproachful—and ever steamy.”—Kirkus

“Peyton Place is hot, even by today's standards. Everything, including the trees, seem to heave with sexuality.”—Sunday (Concord) Monitor

"It's the perfect . . . sit back and relax read."—The Courier Gazette (ME)

"Grace Metalious' 1956 novel book brings themes of class privilege, sexual desire and hypocrisy. In revealing the hidden secrets behind the straight-laced facade of a quaint New England town, the book rocked the region's stuffy reputation."—Associated Press

"More than perhaps any other New England novel, Peyton Place entered the American lexicon . . . Peyton Place is now being acknowledged as a book that destroyed Northern New England's facade of moral uprightness while simultaneously reinventing book publishing . . . Peyton Place is as relevant now as it was 50 years ago."—Valley News

Alexandra Lange
Put attractvenubile young people in close quartersand every sort of titillating perversity can ensurwhatever the decade. —Entertainment Weekly
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 Cahners Business Information.
Alexandra Lange
Put attractve, nubile young people in close quarters, and every sort of titillating perversity can ensur, whatever the decade.
Entertainment Weekly
Carlos Baker
The late Sinclair Lewis would no doubt have hailed Grace Metalious as a sister-in-arms against the false fronts and bourgeois pretentions of allegedly repectable communities, and certified her a public accountant of what goes on in the basements, bedrooms and back porches of a " typical american town. "-- Books of the Century; New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Here's an unexpected publication: a new edition, complete with scholarly introduction, of the 1956 succès 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 (1924–64) 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 characters—among others, Allison MacKenzie, round-heeled Betty Anderson, m.c.p. Rodney Harrington, and longsuffering Selena Cross—retain 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. .

Product Details

Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

GRACE METALIOUS (1924–1964) was the author of Peyton Place, Return to Peyton Place, The Tight White Collar (1960), and No Adam in Eden (1963). She was a resident of Gilmanton, New Hampshire.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Peyton Place 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
dec0558 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! It's interesting and has great character development.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It had it all.
WarriorChik More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JustMyTwoCents More than 1 year ago
I picked this novel up at a tag sale and having never read it before, wanted to find out what the fuss was about all those years ago. It was a terrific read and quite racy even by today's standards. It also gave me an interesting view of the social mores of the time. My only criticism is that the character of Mike Rossi was made out in the book to be pretty much of a good guy, but I couldn't like him when he struck Allison's mother. His behavior was dismissed away as acceptable, especially to the woman. That part made no sense. Still doesn't. It was as if she needed to have some "sense knocked into her." Otherwise, this was a powerful, capitvating story and very readable all these years later. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books that I have ever read. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it and the way Grace tells the story is captivating. I really was living the life of one of her characters. There is nothing better than reading a book that engrosses you so much that the life around you fades into the background and a new one begins. Truely a must read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beleive it or not, I had never heard of this book until a "1950's America" course I took in college. I was intrigued. And now, after reading it, I am impressed. So well written, the pages just flew by. It has just enough trash and scandal to keep it interesting, but not so much that I couldn't recommend it to conservative friends. I loved the innocence of the kids (in the beginning, anyway), and the characterization of the older fellas in town. I'm so glad that I "discovered" this novel, even almost 50 years after it was originally published. Also, I enjoyed the introduction, mostly because it made me savor the idea that I was reading something so "trashy" and controversial by 1956 standards. I have yet to read Return to Petyon Place, but look forward to doing so.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read 'Peyton Place' when I and the novel were much younger. I recently picked up the new paperback edition looking for something trashy and witless to pass the time. Well, it isn't such a bad book. I don't think it's the American 'Madame Bovary,' but there are worse. The vulgar language is a red herring, especially today when one hears worse at any PG-13 movie or even TV. It was Metalious' great gift to show people as people, not as stereotypes, no matter where their behavior took them. The real 'bad guy' here, in my opinion, is the town itself, especially for the frightened middle class which very much insists on keeping its embarrassments and secrets behind closed doors. I learned to my great surprise that 'Peyton Place' the novel has been so thoroughly rehabilitated that it is available only in an academic edition--with a preface! Don't read the preface unless you want the plot spoiled. (You can always read it later.)