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The Bad Seed by William March

The Bad Seed (1954)

by William March

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5181719,555 (3.84)49
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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Love the movie, loved the play , love this book! ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
I was surprised at how well this held up - although it's very 1950s in its details, it's still a fascinating psychological study. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Jul 31, 2016 |
Terribly written and supremely boring. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
Couldn't get through this one. It's not that it was bad, it's just that the movie followed the book pretty close and so, unfortunately, the book didn't hold my interest.
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Well, some negative things first - mainly the writing, which is long winded at times with run-on sentences,(could this be a trait among most southern writers?) and often marred by poor punctuation (comma use, sometimes separating subjects and verbs with inappropriate commas etc) verbs. The dialogue as well doesn't seem to be that crisp, but one has to remember this is set in the early fifties, probably in the deep south.

Despite all that, The Bad Seed was shocking for its time, and one of the original 'evil children' books, and may have been the model for Tom Tryon's [b:The Other|20768884|The Other|Tom Tryon|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/book/50x75-6121bf4c1f669098041843ec9650ca19.png|40106047].
The premise, or theory that March proposed was also shocking - that sociopathic behavior is an inherited trait, a lack of a certain gene which normal people have, and that a sociopath is actually a typical, amoral, acquisitive and self centered personality that was the norm for human beings 50,000 years ago before they evolved social systems (I think Desmond Morris and other anthropologists would disagree with that)

Towards the end we have a bit of meta-fictional device, as the mother doing research about her own mother, makes up a story that she is getting background for a novel she is going to write, the plot and ending being nearly exact to the same as the plot in the Bad Seed.

In short, I did enjoy the book. ( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Marchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kamp, Lawrence S.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Later that summer, when Mrs. Penmark looked back and remembered, when she was caught up in despair so deep that she knew there was no way out, no solution whatever for the circumstances that encompassed her, it seemed to her that June seventh, the day of the Fern Grammar School picnic, was the day of her last happiness, for never since then had she known contentment or felt peace.
Nell'estate inoltrata, quando la signora Penmark, in preda a una disperazione così profonda da non avere via d'uscita alle circostanze che la opprimevano, si guardò indietro nel tempo, le parve che il sette giugno, giorno del picnic della scuola Fern, fosse l'ultimo della sua felicità, perche da allora non aveva provato mai più contentezza o pace.
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'Ik was de schuldige,' dacht ze weer. 'Ik droeg het zaad des verderfs.' (Utrecht/Antwerpen: A.W. Bruna & Zoon, p. 170)
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This record is for the novel "The Bad Seed." Do not combine with the film or the script of the same name.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060795484, Paperback)

Now reissued – William March's 1954 classic thriller that's as chilling, intelligent and timely as ever before. This paperback reissue includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested reading and more.

What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William march's classic thriller. After its initial publication in 1954, the book went on to become a million–copy bestseller, a wildly successful Broadway show, and a Warner Brothers film. The spine–tingling tale of little Rhoda Penmark had a tremendous impact on the thriller genre and generated a whole perdurable crop of creepy kids. Today, The Bad Seed remains a masterpiece of suspense that's as chilling, intelligent, and timely as ever before.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From "The Omen" to "The Good Son", American pop culture has produced a legion of "bad seed" spinoffs. For his novel, William March draws on actual case histories to explore a serious question: What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a criminal is born? Featuring a cast of memorable characters, "The Bad Seed" is a solid suspense story that's more chilling, more intelligent, and far more absorbing that its Hollywood namesake.… (more)

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