Monday, 8 February 2010

Peyton Place (Metalious) 480

Described as a "scorcher" by one of my contacts at Virago, with the cover tagline "The notorious banned bestseller", I was extremely keen to read Peyton Place which has somehow previously passed me by.

What a great read! Peyton Place is the story of a small town in Mississipi in the 1950s, revealing the private lives and stories of its inhabitants, and particularly the hypocrisy and scandal behind the front doors. It is easy to see why the book was so shocking when it was first published - events include incest, abortion, heavy alcoholism and unmarried pregnancies, although to those reading in the 21st century this might seem less contentious. I suppose the issue was that such things did occur in the 1950s, but they were not talked about, and everyone was keen to cover them up with respectability. I think this book is a really great read; it might seem tame by today's standards, but gives such a good insight into the mindset of the 1950s.

There is a sequel, not published by Virago, which I am now keen to seek out. As far as I can tell, Virago have only published this twice, and it was quite a late addition to their list. I own the more recent edition which is the second of the two shown below.


  1. Definitely tame by today's standards, but a great read! I can remember my mother watching the television show...but only after we were all tucked into bed.

  2. I've heard of the book in passing before, but never really knew what it's about. Couple of people did tell me that I have to read it though...

  3. JoAnn - a television show, that must have been fun.

    Another Cookie - I think this is a definite classic.

  4. "Peyton Place" was the "must watch" of its time on TV. I remember my Gran being scandalised that such stuff was being shown & I was certainly never allowed anywhere near the TV when it was on!(So, yes, my Mum & Dad must've been watching, tho I'm sure Gran never found out:))You're right that the root of the uproar was that such things went on but were never talked about and, of course, it was *America* not *here* :)

  5. I am very keen to read this and it's just a matter of the ever-growing TBR pile... sigh.

    I LOVE the opening line! Any new books I buy/borrow/receive, I always read the opening line (one of my many readerly obsessions).

    I think you'll enjoy Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann as it has similar subject matter and this sounds equally absorbing.

  6. Have you ever gone on to watch it Alison?

    Claire - I know you'll enjoy this one, it's a classic just like the Group (although very different, although equally shocking!). I must read Valley of the Dolls before too much more time passes.