Peyton Place by Grace Metalious


Peyton Place, Grace Metalious, 1956

My favorite quote: “The public loves to create a hero. Sometimes I think they do it for the sheer joy of knocking him down from the highest peak. Like a child who builds a house of blocks and then destroys it with one vicious kick.”

Notable characters: Allison MacKenzie, a young girl growing up in Peyton Place; Constance MacKenzie, her mother; Selena Cross, her best friend; Peyton Place, a small New Hampshire town, which is a character in and of itself

Most memorable scene: When the town drunk shows up at church

Greatest strengths: Its utter un-put-down-ability. Reading this book is like looking in your neighbor’s windows, but without the creepy feeling that comes with it. Not that I’ve ever done that. I just imagine it would probably feel creepy. Unless you’re a total perv. Then you might not feel creepy. Anyway … 

Standout achievements: I’d say the speed with which this book worked its way up academic ladder is pretty f*cking remarkable. It went from “trash writing” to “a major landmark in American literature” in just a few decades

Fun Facts: Written at a time when debut novels were expected to sell 3,000 copies, Peyton Place sold 100,000 in its first month, making its way into the bedrooms of innumerable American housewives, next to the secret stash of vodka 

Other media: A 1957 film, as well as a 1964-1969 TV show

What it taught me: A lot about the design and arrangement of plot, and a few things about the world. This book serves as a fine example that while societal views of morality may change, human nature itself never really does

How it inspired me: Peyton Place is FUN to read, and a big part of that is because of its structure. It’s written in 3rd person with multiple viewpoints, and after reading it, I decided I’d tell my tales the same way. That way, I could walk in the shoes of my characters and observe the world from various points-of-view, which is fun for me as the writer. More importantly, it lets readers glimpse the secret lives of the characters, which is fun for them 

Additional thoughts: Suicide, murder, alcoholism, abortion, drunk driving, incest, and rape, this book is classic trash at its addictive best, and if you ask me, everyone should read it 

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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