The Stepford Wives – Novel Review

Hello and welcome back, to me, your blogger, reviewer, writer after a week-long hiatus. Where were you? you ask. and why didn’t you at least give us warning you’d be gone?

Well I had family coming for the entire past week but I had confident that I could get a couple of reviews done in time. But I was wrong, needless to say.

But I am back! Thanks for your patience, and on to the review!

The Author

Ira Levin novelist.png

Ira Marvin Levin was an American novelist, playwright, and songwriter. He has written A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys from Brazil — many of which were adapted to film. His first play – an adaptation of Mac Hyman’s No Time for Sergeants — was a huge hit, helping him launch career.

He was educated at a private school in New York called Horace Mann School. After that, he attended Drake University in Iowa, then New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English. After graduating, he served in the Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. Levin was a Tony Award nominee, the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the Mystery Writers of America as well as the Horror Writers Association. He passed away at 78 in 2007.

The Novel

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic facade lies a terrible secret—a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

– The Stepford Wives Goodreads page

Published in 1972 and adapted to film twice (1975 and 2004), The Stepford Wives follows a talented photographer, Joanna who moves to the blissful town of Stepford with her husband and two children. Moving there seems to push Joanna back in time, where womens’ rights don’t exist and wives exist to be perfect and serve their husbands, keeping the house clean and never leaving the house. She manages to make two friends, who are as independent as her… until they aren’t.

Her husband dismisses her fears as he spends more and more time at the local men’s association, leaving her to try and unravel the mystery of the Stepford wives on her own. But how long is she safe until whatever it is that transforms women into the “perfect” wives hits her?

The Review

I went into reading The Stepford Wives assuming that I would find it dated and not that frightening, but I was so wrong. The book itself creates a feeling of restriction, paranoia, and utter helplessness that leaves a reader breathless and unsettled.

Levin creates an average everyday small town where people value tradition and everyone leaves their doors unlocked. But quickly, a sense of unease keeps in. The neighbours seem a bit off, the once familiar husband drifts away, and the few friends one have turn to strangers.

The Stepford noose tightens around the reader at the same time as the it does Joanna and it never lets go as the protagonist struggles to escape the quicksand trap she seems to have found herself in.

And ending? It will leave you haunted.

This is one classic that you should read, regardless if you’ve watched the movies or have had the ending spoiled for you. The pacing will set your nerves on fire, the suspense will gives you chills, and the overall conclusion and theme will haunt you for days.

9/10

x PLM

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