Ideas for Group Discussions
Callahan, Michael. “Peyton Place’s Real Victim.” Vanity Fair, March, 2006, 32. Provides an overview of Metalious’s life and describes the novel’s evolution.
Cameron, Ardis. Introduction to Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999. Cameron encouraged Northeastern University Press to reprint the long-neglected novel for its fiftieth anniversary. Her introduction praises Metalious’s detailed examination of a small town, arguing that it offers surprising insights into the nature of postwar American culture and the regulation of women’s lives.
Gumbel, Andrew. “The Original Desperate Housewife: America Remembers Grace Metalious.” The Independent (London), February 20, 2006. Explores the possible resurgence of interest in the novel with its fiftieth anniversary; mentions that actress Sandra Bullock has acquired the film rights to Toth’s biography of Metalious.
Metalious, George, and June O’Shea. The Girl from Peyton Place. New York: Dell, 1965. Published the year after the author’s death, this biography was cowritten by her former husband.
Miner, Madonne M. Insatiable Appetites: Twentieth-Century American Women’s Bestsellers. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984. Examines five best sellers, including Peyton Place. Focuses on the use of fairy-tale motifs in the novel, such as the splitting and doubling of characters and the distribution of reward and punishment.
Sova, Dawn B. Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds. New York: Facts On File, 1998. Reviews the initial reaction to the novel and its history of censorship.
Toth, Emily. Inside Peyton Place: The Life of Grace Metalious. Rev. ed. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000. Sympathetic portrait of the author. Describes the parallels between Metalious’s life and those of her characters, as well as the controversy surrounding the novel.
Wood, Ruth Pirsig. Lolita in Peyton Place: Highbrow, Middlebrow, and Lowbrow Novels of the 1950’s. New York: Garland, 1995. Discusses the novel as an example of 1950’s middlebrow fiction, which assured female readers that they would be rewarded for following society’s rules and punished for subverting them.