Thursday 4 August 2016

Book ~ "Peyton Place" (1956) Grace Metalious

From Goodreads ~ "Peyton Place" uncovers the passions, lies and cruelties that simmer beneath the surface of a postcard-perfect town. 

At the centre of the novel are three women, each with a secret to hide: Constance MacKenzie, the original desperate housewife; her daughter Allison, whose dreams are stifled by small-town small-mindedness; and Selena Cross, her gypsy-eyed friend from the wrong side of the tracks.

I read a couple weeks ago that it's been 60 years since Peyton Place was written.  At the time, it caused quite the stir as it involved adultery, abortion, alcoholism, abuse, incest, etc.  I've never read it so thought I'd check it out.

The story starts in the late 1930s and ends in the mid-1940 and has a lot of interesting characters.  Constance MacKenzie had moved home from New York after her mother died with her daughter, Allison, and a secret she hoped no one would ever find out.  Serena, Allison's friend, lives in a shack with her alcoholic stepfather and crazy mother and is dating one of the cool kids.  Allison's friend, Norman, is a nervous kid who is way too attached to his dominating mother.  Rodney is the son of a rich man and has too much privilege, money, freedom and attitude.  Betty is a sassy girl who is popular with the boys.  Then there is the town itself full of gossipers.

I was concerned that I wouldn't like the writing style as I tend to find books written in the past stilted and proper.  That wasn't the case with this book.  Even though it was written 60 years ago, I found the story and writing style stood up well with books written today and I enjoyed it.  As a head's up, there is violence and adult activity.

There were quite a few characters but it wasn't hard to keep them straight ... and most had major plot lines.  I found the characters interesting but I wasn't fond of Allison, who I found annoying and obnoxious.

Now I'd like to watch the movie (made in 1957) to see how they adapted the book and brought the characters to live.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thanks for the suggestion, I just put it on hold at the tpl.