Peyton Place

I suppose this was considered racy fare in 1956 when first published, a soap opera tale of a small town that involves rape, abortion, drinking, sex, deception, child abuse, wife beatings, bastard children, sleeping with married men, and murder. Parts are downright hilarious, like the seven men who hole up in Kenny’s cellar on an extended drunken bender for five or six weeks. Allison Mackenzie is the daughter of Constance Mackenzie, a bastard child who’s a year older than she is told in order to cover her mother’s disgrace. Her friend Selena is a member of one of the shack families in town, abused by her stepfather who rapes/impregnates her, she has abortion, years later he returns to town and she kills him. There’s a newspaper owner who doesn’t like to take sides and a wealthy mill owner who overprotects his son (keeping him from war but the drunken son ends up killing himself in a car wreck), a friend of Allison who loses her arm in a carnival accident, a handsome new principal who sweeps Constance off her feet, an overprotective mother who lies about her son being a war hero, the list goes on forever.