by Sandy HusebyJuly, 2005
Reading Barbara Delinsky's Looking for Peyton Place is a bit like looking into an infinite stretch of mirrors as the author explores the character of Annie Barnes, who is convinced that she is communicating with the persona that was Grace Metalious, the infamous author of Peyton Place. Annie left Middle River, New Hampshire, as soon as she could, but she never escaped the denizens' awareness that they were the inspiration for the characters in that landmark novel. When Annie comes home to search for the cause of her sister's illness and her mother's death, she is caught up in small-town secrets far more dangerous than those of her muse, Metalious. Mercury waste from the town's major industry, the Meade family's paper mill, may be causing more than pollution. Handsome James Meade gives Annie a focus for re-evaluating all her reasons for leaving Middle River. Delinsky delivers a thought-provoking take on environmental concerns in this nostalgic and evocative reminder that yes, you can go home again.