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Rosemary's Baby (1967)

by Ira Levin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Rosemary's Baby (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5221002,532 (3.79)224
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a special shine to them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems.… (more)
  1. 31
    The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: The stories are quite different, but the books share similar themes. Both books are '70's religious shockers about a young woman moving into a new apartment, set in New York.
  2. 10
    The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (sturlington)
  3. 00
    The Mephisto Waltz by Fred Mustard Stewart (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  4. 00
    The Sand Men by Christopher Fowler (ShelfMonkey)
  5. 00
    The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  6. 01
    Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin (KayCliff)
1960s (31)
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» See also 224 mentions

English (91)  Danish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
A 1960's classic. I read it about 50 years ago and saw a copy at a garage sale for 10 cents a few years ago, so picked it up. I wanted to see if it withstood the test of time, and for the most part, I think it has. Of course, women were still drinking and smoking in the 60's when pregnant and they still didn't have a lot of say in their prenatal care. This is the story of Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse who move into an apartment building only to be recruited, unwittingly, to serve as surrogates for the devil baby to be born. The author makes it very plausible and sometimes the reader can't tell if something really happened or if it was imagined; the mark of a good writer! ( )
  Tess_W | Jun 27, 2020 |
If you were to ever ask anyone if they can think of a piece of pop culture about the horrors of pregnancy, the answer you'd probably hear is Rosemary's Baby. Most people would mean the Polanski film, but that cinema classic (one of the few horror movies even I enjoy!) was based on Ira Levin's original novel. It's quite short, almost more of a novella. It tells the story of young newlywed Rosemary Woodhouse, who begins the story by moving into an exclusive Manhattan apartment building with her up-and-coming actor husband, Guy. A friend from her time in the workforce tries to warn her about the bad reputation the place has, but the couple is excited and moves in anyways.

Rosemary, estranged from her own Midwestern family, is eager to have a child, but Guy is hesitant until he starts spending time around the Castevets, their elderly next-door neighbors, and he gets a promising role when the originally-cast actor is struck blind. The night they conceive, Rosemary's drink is spiked and while she remembers an oddly demonic evening, Guy claims nothing unusual happened. She's steered away from her first choice of doctor to one the Castevets prefer, who counsels her to not talk about how her pregnancy is going with her friends. After months of agonizing pain (and daily nutritional drinks provided by the Castevets), Rosemary complains to a friend, who starts looking into what could be wrong. He's struck down suddenly, and his last message to Rosemary is a warning about her new friends. Heavily pregnant and with no one to turn to, Rosemary is suddenly terrified about what exactly she's going to be giving birth to.

What came through the most strongly to me, from today's perspective, is a warning about how abusers work. Rosemary is cut off from her family, from the doctor she wants to go to, from her friends and a community of women who would be able to tell her that her experiences aren't normal. Her husband and neighbors do all of it cheerfully, in the guise of caring about her, but they're really isolating her so they can better control her. It's incremental enough that she barely even notices the noose tightening around her until it's too late. That, as much as the reality that you have no idea what your baby is going to be like until it comes out, is the horror.

Honestly, this is a situation where the movie is better. The book isn't bad, but it's unspectacular. None of the characters is all that compelling, the dialogue doesn't spark, the prose is unremarkable. The performances (particularly Mia Farrow) and atmosphere Polanski was able to render on film flesh out the bones of the interesting idea Levin's work presents and explores. The book on its own isn't unworth your time, particularly because it's so short, but its not anything special. ( )
  GabbyHM | Jun 24, 2020 |
I really enjoyed the simplicity of Levin's language combined with the lovely flow of his sentences. I think the story is a little dated in some regards, but there's something quite Hitchockian (totes a real word) about the way it unfolds. A great read & I'll look up more of Levin's stuff. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
The foreshadowing was so great and the ending is the best. ( )
  locriian | May 4, 2020 |
I've changed my rating twice while typing out this review... My first thought was that I wanted to like it more than I did. I mean, the beginning was slow and boring but once it got going, I couldn't stop listening. Yes, it's from the 60s so there were plenty of patting the nice, young woman on the head and the husband laying down the law, and racist descriptions, of course.

Rosemary ended up being much stronger than I figured she would be. Sort of. I mean, until the very end. I need to live with the story a bit more. I won't lie, I'm tempted to read the next book in the series.

I listened to the Audible version and the sound quality left a lot to be desired. Mia Farrow's acting and voices were good but it sounded like it was recorded a few decades ago. How about some clean up there, Audible?

Now I need to watch the movie because I don't remember anything about it at all. ( )
  amcheri | Apr 29, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Met de regelmaat van de klok verschijnen de herdrukken van dit boek, dat ook verfilmd is (en nog steeds vertoond wordt). Een jong echtpaar krijgt een flat toegewezen in een oud romantisch flatgebouw in New York, waarover verhalen gaan als zouden er veel zelfmoorden plaatsvinden en heksen en gifmengers wonen. Ze trekken zich hier niets van aan en voelen er zich gelukkig tot de vrouw, Rosemary, plotseling in verwachting raakt. Deze zwangerschap verloopt moeizaam en ze gaat aan de hand van allerlei gebeurtenissen eraan twijfelen of de buren (en ook haar man) die haar met allerlei zorgjes omringen toch niet aan hekserij doen. Het verhaal eindigt dan ook als ze een baby heeft gekregen die als tegenhanger van Christus, de zoon van Satan zou zijn. Nog steeds een boeiend verhaal, maar minder griezelig dan de film. Duidelijke druk op grauw papier.
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion
 

» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Levin, Iraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beckett, RicheyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kauppi, KaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Completed in August 1966, in Wilton, Connecticut, and dedicated to Gabrielle
First words
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse had signed a lease on a five-room apartment in a geometric white house on First Avenue when they received word, from a woman named Mrs. Cortez, that a four-room apartment in the Bramford had become available.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare; as the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems.
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