Amy Reads Books

Peyton Place B

Peyton Place - Grace Metalious Imagine any modern soap opera. Then heighten it and transport it to a small town in New England in the 1930s and you'll get Peyton Place, a book written by Grace Metalious in the 1950s, and caused such a scandal that it was banned.I was so suprised by this novel. When my Mum handed it over to me last year I expected it to be a kind of fun, fluffy book. Instead, although it's not War & Peace Metalicous uses very good prose, and plenty of lovely description to paint a picture of a close-knit town, where the worst possible thing is to be talked about, and where you're reputation is basically sealed for your whole life. Plus, it's not anywhere near as 'fluffy' as I expected; it deals with affairs, drunkeness, teenage pregnancy, illegal abortion, suicide and murder. When you don't think that anything worse could happen, something else comes and hits you in the face. These plot points led to the book being called 'cheap moral filth' at its time of publication!Metalicous creates a seriously massive cast of characters. You learn something about literally every person in the town, including their backstories. I think the two story-archs that I was really interesting were those of Constance McKenzie, Allison McKenzie, Selina Cross and Dr Swain; although it's hard to pick out characters that sparkle above the rest as few are allowed to remain flat.Although aspects of the novel date it; there are some rather odd gender politics even within the couples that we're supposed to root for, I really enjoyed it. It's a really fun read and I got through it pretty quickly. Apparently there's a sequal, named Return to Peyton Place, although I'm not sure if I'd want to read that; Metalicous leaves Peyton Place and its inhabitants in a good solid place, and I feel as though the characters are now almost free to go their own way. I'd definitly recommend picking it up; don't be put off by the slightly Mills & Boons-esque cover!