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Grace Metalious 1924 -1964

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Grace Metalious 1924 - 1964
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"If I'm a lousy writer,then an awful lot of people
have lousy taste."
- Grace Metalious

Pandora In Blue Jeans

Grace and typewriter

She was born into poverty and a broken home as Marie Grace de Repentigny on September 8, 1924 in the mill town of 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 a small New England town made juicy reading for millions worldwide. Peyton Place appears to have been a combination of Gilmanton, New Hampshire, the village where she lived (and which resented notoriety), Laconia, New Hampshire, the only nearby town of comparable size to Peyton Place and site of Grace's favorite bar, and Alton, New Hampshire, the town where a few years previously a daughter had murdered her incestuous abusive father. 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 purveyor 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 (cirrhosis of the liver), at the age of 39, on February 25, 1964. "If I had to do it over again," she once remarked, "it would be easier to be poor." She is buried in Smith Meeting House Cemetery in Gilmanton, New Hampshire

Peyton Place 1956 [click for larger image]
Messner 1956

related internet links

2006 will see the 50th Anniversary
of this, the original and, for some,
the only novel of it's kind

The Tight White Collar [click for larger image]
Pan, London, 1966

Trash Fiction

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