Saturday, October 29, 2011

"The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin

Johanna, Walter and their two children have just moved to the quiet suburb of Stepford.  They are hoping they found a nice, healthy community  in which to live; away from the busy city.  They seem to have a good marriage with open communication, and a loving, supportive partnership.  As Johanna settles in, she realizes how difficult it is to find an active local woman's group in Stepford, which is strange as the Men's Association is booming.  It seems that all the women she talks to are much to busy for any sort of out-of-the house activity; all their time is consumed by endless housework.  She finds only a friend or two, also new to the area, who are also looking to have a life outside their homes.  Before too long, these friends are also somehow transformed into hausfraus.  Johanna fears that she will be changed too....

I'll admit that this book was a bit of a cheat for me, as I had seen the 2004 movie adaptation starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick some time ago.  I knew the story, or at least I thought I did.  Reading the original book makes me think I should watch the movie again though, as I was prepared for a completely different ending!

This is a very short book, so I was surprised at the level of suspense created in so few pages.  The story moves along fairly quickly, and you just feed off of Johanna's growing bewilderment and fear - not to mention her self-doubts.  The ending was surprising to me, and incredibly clever in my opinion.  Brilliant, actually.  But I don't want to spoil it for you!  Just know that if you've only seen that movie version, you only have a basic idea of the book and are missing out on something special.

The Stepford Wives
by Ira  Levin
Perennial, 2002 (first published 1972)
123 pages
Source:  Purchased Used

Links for purchase:
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The Book Depository


Birgit said...

Now you made me curious about the book :-) !
You should definitely watch the original movie from 1972 - that one is sooo much better than the new version!! In fact I think the 2004 version was pretty awful ...

Irene Palfy said...

Love that book! That 2004 film version isn't very much like the book - the 1972 version made some changes, too - but it's definitively more like the book..

In case you're interested: I posted about the film here: ;")

Hope you don't think I am too bold..

Wishing you a great weekend!!


Ally said...

I saw the 2004 movie version; I had no idea there is an earlier one! :)

Giselle said...

Oh I didn't even know this was a book. I watched the movie a couple years ago and it was pretty good, but nothing memorable.

Xpresso Reads

TheBookGirl said...

I've seen both versions of the movie, but have never read the book -- sounds like I should remedy that :)

Irene Palfy said...

Thank you for visiting my film post - and sorry that I wrote a wrong release date in my comment here - of course the film is from 1975.. ahem..

a bit blushing..


Ben said...

Ira Levin could write! I liked Stepford Wives especially because he stepped out of his comfort zone of hardboiled. Too bad the latest movie adaptation was crap. But check out the original!

Margot said...

I read this book back in the 70s with my friends. We talked and talked the book to death. It was quite controversial at the time and I thought it made some very good points. I have yet to see the movie. Thanks for the memory.

Kate B said...

I've never read the book, but I've seen both movies. And - I work in "Stepford". I've told people that if you've seen the movies, you've seen the town I work in literally and figuratively, as both movies were filmed here and....well....seems like all the women here are blonde, slender, drive big honking SUVs and even all dress similarly.

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