Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Stepford Wives

The Stepford WivesThe Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Johanna, Walter, and their children move to Stepford, everything seems perfect. A little too perfect, in fact. Why do all the Stepford wives live to do housework and please their husbands? Is their a conspiracy afoot or are Johanna and her friend Bobbie imagining things?

The Stepford Wives is a paranoid thriller by Ira Levin. There is also quite a bit of social satire as well. What would a community be like if all the women behaved like the stereotypical 1950's style housewife?

It's a pretty creepy book, though Levin eases you into the waters little by little so you don't notice all the dead animals around the pond until you're up to your neck in it. The feel reminded me of Jack Finney's Body Snatchers a bit. When will it be Johanna's turn to join the ranks of the sexually charged housewife drones?

On the negative side of the scale, the book is very much a product of its time. All of the male characters seem like they'd be right at home working with Don Draper. Also, the 1972 publishing date wasn't all that far removed from the book's 1950's portrayal of male and female cultural ideals. Now, over 40 years after the book was written, everything seems quaint and a little ridiculous.

3.5 out of 5 stars. I'm throwing in an extra .5 for the level of creepiness.

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