Valley of the Dolls: "Wow! What an Orgy!"
Damn, damn. . . . Damn Anne's mother! Damn all mothers! Even in death they reached out and loused you up.
-- Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls
Matrophobia can be seen as a womanly splitting of the self, in the desire to become purged once and for all of our mothers' bondage, to become individuated and free. The mother stands for the victim in ourselves, the martyr. Our personalities seem dangerously to blur and overlap with our mothers'; and, in a desperate attempt to know where mother ends and daughter begins, we perform radical surgery.
-- Adrienne Rich Of Woman Born
One of the most appealing aspects of Peyton Place is Metalious's depiction of her heroine's struggle to come to terms with herself and her surroundings. Unappreciated by the general populace of Peyton Place, the gifted Allison MacKenzie troops off to New York City, writes a bestseller, and shows them all--just like the author of her story, whose best-selling novel proved a lesson to the populace of her own native town, Manchester, New Hampshire. Ten years later, in another woman's bestseller destined to break records and shock the reading public, we encounter a heroine, Anne Welles, whose initial situation runs a close parallel to that of Allison MacKenzie. Like Allison, Anne grows up in an exclusively female home in a small New England town. Feeling unappreciated and at odds with her mother and with the townsfolk, Anne, like Allison, escapes: first, imaginatively, into works of literature and then, actually, to "the big city," New York. 1 Here, how-