Grace Metalious

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Grace Metalious (1924 - 1964) was an American author, best known for the controversial novel Peyton Place.

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Author Grace Metalious
She was born into poverty and a broken home as Marie Grace de Repentigny on September 8, 1924 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Blessed with the gift of imagination, she was driven to write from an early age. In her teens she married George Metalious, became a housewife and mother, lived in near squalor - and continued to write.

In 1956, she captured the attention of an editor with Peyton Place, which became the first "blockbuster" of the publishing industry. Reviled by the clergy and dismissed by most critics as "trash," it nevertheless remained on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year and became an international phenomenon. The dark secrets of the residents of a small New England town made for juicy reading for millions worldwide. Hollywood lost no time in cashing in on the book's success - a year after its publication, Peyton Place was a major box office hit.

Metalious - the "Pandora in bluejeans" - was said by some to be a dreadful writer and a purveyer of filth, but her most famous book changed the publishing industry forever. With regard to her success, she said, "If I'm a lousy writer, then an awful lot of people have lousy taste," and as to the frankness of her work, she stated, "Even Tom Sawyer had a girlfriend, and to talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without glass."

Her other novels, which never achieved the same success as her first, were Return to Peyton Place (1959), The Tight White Collar (1961) and No Adam in Eden (1963).

Metalious died of alcoholism on February 25, 1964.

Reference

Inside Peyton Place: The Life of Grace Metalious, by Emily Toth, first published by Doubleday in 1981 and later reissued by University Press of Mississippi

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