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)
Source: Purchased Used
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