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Peyton Place | [Grace Metalious]

Peyton Place

In 1956, when this novel was first published, communities all over New England snapped up copies to see if they were the town portrayed in the book. Peyton Place is the story of a repressive New England town known for its high standards of public morality, and the steamy sexual activities that take place behind its bedroom doors.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1956, when this novel was first published, communities all over New England snapped up copies to see if they were the town portrayed in the book. Peyton Place is the story of a repressive New England town known for its high standards of public morality, and the steamy sexual activities that take place behind its bedroom doors. While the town's rigid mores lead to hypocrisy and repression, the earthy characters have an unbelievably high level of sexual functioning, especially the playboy Rodney Harrington and the profoundly round-heeled Betty Anderson. In this environment, Allison McKenzie, a dreamy girl coming to womanhood, must make her way without a father, living with her frigid mother, Constance McKenzie.

©1956 Grace Metalious; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Metalious 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." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (97 )
5 star
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4.2 (45 )
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4.1 (39 )
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  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-07
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Must, A Classic"

    Talk about telling it like it is! This book is an absolute must-read, especially because of the controversy it caused when first published. A true lesson on "social intercourse."

    It is fascinating to consider that the narration of the book (both on paper and in voice) is from a man. Women are considered to be the gossipers, yet this is presented as from a male perspective (even though I truly think it is a woman's perspective). The narration was superb!!

    The movie, of course, made slight changes but none that were too harmful. And then there was the Soap Opera series on TV. But this book, as usual, is the best of all. Even with knowing most of the twists and turns, I wanted it to go on forever.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Ossining, NY, USA 03-22-06
    Harry Ossining, NY, USA 03-22-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    "Guilty Pleasure"

    I was only 3 when the book came out, but throughout the 50s and 60s there were whispers (and shouts) about Peyton Place. I was still too young to sneak into the movie and when I finally saw it on late night TV, I yawned. That said, both the book and the narrator are a real treat and I found it surprisingly better written than it's trash reputation would suggest. The inner voices are surprisingly honest and I will publicly admit that listening made driving to and from work a great ride. Take the plunge! You'll enjoy!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Kells, Co MeathIreland 02-04-05
    Terry Kells, Co MeathIreland 02-04-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fabulous stuff!"

    I really wasn't sure what to expect from Peyton Place, since all I knew about it was its reputation as a 'racy' novel. In reality, what was racy in the 50s is very tame nowadays, but the issues raised as are relevant today as ever. However, this isn't a 'preachy' book - it's simply a compelling tale about a bunch of very believable, and mostly flawed, characters. As a bonus, the essay at the end about the book's impact is an informative and interesting conclusion to an enjoyable listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crusader Palm Springs, CA, United States 11-07-11
    Crusader Palm Springs, CA, United States 11-07-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Best book I've read to date!"

    Until now, I would say "To Kill A Mockingbird" is my favourite book; however, after reading "Peyton Place," I think that is now my fave of all time. I watched the movie a bunch of times before ever reading the book, and obviously they couldn't deal with everything in the book for the movie in the "old days" because the book has way more scandalous details.

    This book really tells a fascinating story and is a real page-turner. The Audible audio version has a very nice one-hour "bonus" at the end where the narrator talks about the history of the book, how it came to be, stuff about the author, how it was banned in many stores, libraries, and how it was even ILLEGAL to import the book to Canada in the 1950s!

    This book is never dull; the characters are a scream; and it is guaranteed to entertain!

    Going to watch the movie again, along with the sequel ("Return to Peyton Place") and also plan on renting the TV series (which I've never seen).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Huntsville, ON, Canada 05-18-07
    John Huntsville, ON, Canada 05-18-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fun4gracie"

    Listened to this book twice so far and probably will again. It is truly the best book I've listened to in 4 years. This was the #1 best seller in the 20 th century and after listening to it you will agree. Just terrific.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxanne Denver Colorado 01-03-09
    Roxanne Denver Colorado 01-03-09 Member Since 2007

    Roxanne

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    "Peyton Place"

    I vaguely remember hearing the grown-ups talk about this when I was a child. The weekly series was a real hit - and now I know why. This was a captivating story - it made you angry, happy and sad.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Duluth, MN, USA 08-25-06
    Jamie Duluth, MN, USA 08-25-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Book"

    I wanted to listen to this book because one of my most favorite author's-Barbara Delinsky had written "Looking for Peyton Place" in 2005 and I wanted to know and learn about the book it was based on.

    The original Peyton Place was a good book and kind of slowed down in some parts and in other parts kept me hooked. I didn't hurry to finish this one like I have some others because I have been so engrossed with them, but it wasn't a bad book necessarily.

    An unexpected bonus after the book was completed is the 60 minute or so review by the narrator discussing the controversy surrounding the release of Peyton Place nearly 60 years ago. This was very interesting to listen too because I honestly didn't know that Grace Metalious was one of the first and few to blow the lid off such subjects as child abuse and whatnot and was such a controversial figure in her time.

    The narrator does a fantastic job and was very enjoyable to listen too. I wasn't sure how a man could portray all of these womens voices, but I thought he did a great job!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John ingleside, IL, USA 12-08-05
    John ingleside, IL, USA 12-08-05
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    "great modern writing"

    excellent writing, magnifcent description,good characterization, to a large extent a coming of age saga. great portraiture of the human condition

    highly recommended

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ESTHER United States 06-08-13
    ESTHER United States 06-08-13
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    "Didn't want it to end"
    Would you listen to Peyton Place again? Why?

    Probably in a few years. It's such a complete rendering of small town doings. I think I would probably pick up nuances I missed on the first listen.


    What other book might you compare Peyton Place to and why?

    I have no real comparable reading experience - except perhaps "The Help". I love small town undercurrents and events.


    Have you listened to any of Tim O'Connor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But I will definitely look for his other performances.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It did both.


    Any additional comments?

    How unfortunate this author died so young. She probably had lots of books left in her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 04-15-13
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 04-15-13 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Peyton Place a wonderful guilty pleasure!"
    Where does Peyton Place rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was one of my favorite listens of all time. I would rank it very high on my book list. In the top 5 at least. It's amazing how topical it still is today.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the openness of the writing and the depth of the characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was when Dr. Swain decided to save Selena Cross by telling the court what Lucas Cross did to her and why she was justified in killing him. It's times like that when you realize that small towns may not be forgiving, but they do cut through the crap and come through when you need them to.


    Who was the most memorable character of Peyton Place and why?

    I loved Selena Cross the best. Here is a girl who had to grow up fast and never gave up. She was the strongest character in the whole story and I really rooted for her to survive her awful life.


    Any additional comments?

    Tim O'Conner did a wonderful job on his narration. He played a character (Elliot Carson) on the TV Peyton Place, but his character was not in the book. Selena Cross also was not in the tv show. So if you are a fan of the television show, this book is better than that. Selena was based on a real person who killed her father who had abused her for many years and buried him in the pig pen. When the publisher insisted on making Lucas Cross her step father, Grace Metalious was afraid they had ruined her book. This version of the book also includes an essay on how this book affected the nation in the 1950's when the country was going through another conservative book banning time. The essay is a good listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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