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Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary's Baby (original 1967; edition 2010)

by Ira Levin, Otto Penzler (Introduction)

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2,829732,057 (3.79)193
Title:Rosemary's Baby
Authors:Ira Levin
Other authors:Otto Penzler (Introduction)
Info:Pegasus (2010), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Paranormal Library
Tags:library book, satanism, horror, book to movie

Work details

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (1967)

Recently added byprivate library, jmchshannon, hevabean, apierce609, Aneris, hannahmck, Aoife_W, Deborahrs, cckrueger
  1. 30
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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Review originally posted on Goodreads.

I wasn't sure what to expect after hearing high praise for this book. This is my first time reading the book and I haven't seen the movie either. I'm a sucker for horror, but was hesitant to read this because I'm also a big scaredy pants. Surprisingly, this wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. There were strange moments and a lot of suspense. The book was definitely creepy, but not horrific.

I did enjoy it and am considering the second book, though there isn't as much high praise for it. Still seems interesting. ( )
1 vote apollymipanthos | Mar 20, 2017 |
The story of Rosemary's Baby has undoubtedly been heard of around most of the world. Rosemary is a young housewife who begins to suspect her neighbors of witchcraft, wanting her unborn child for some sort of satanic ritual. If only she knew the truth was much, much worse...

The plot is pretty simple when it all comes out, but during the book the reader is given the impression it is not so straightforward. Around every corner a new doubt leaks into Rosemary's mind; different arrows point at different conspiracies that may or may not present.

And then, of course, there is always the question of whether or not it's simply the case of poor Rosemary losing her mind.

Ira Levin effectively stirs up an ideal sense of mood; isolation for the young pregnant woman in a constant upheaval of confusion; the feeling of being trapped as it seems no one believes her in the big bad world, and even the loved ones she has always trusted come into doubt. There are plenty of suspenseful moments throughout the novel, although not heart-stopping. The story moves at a quieter and more peaceful pace than many modern day horror tales, only to come around and unexpectantly bite you in the rear during the second half.

Rosemary, a typical housewife of the times, and her husband Guy Woodhouse, an aspiring actor waiting for his big break, make interesting characters the reader can relate to. The nosy neighbors are intrusive, but they're also not too different from many odd couples that live next door. All characters are explored in depth, giving us a sense of eerie reality, while the tale of horror is told only through the eyes of the main character. The pace of Rosemary's Baby is a bit slow but it doesn't deter from its purpose -- to horrify.

I recommend giving the book a try if you can get your hands on a copy, for while it is very similar to the film version, reading about darkness and deception instead of simply "viewing" it can implant powerful stories even further in our minds.

( )
1 vote ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Oh my. Where true horror stories began. Read the book, see the movie which is out on DVD now really cheap. Scary stuff for the times. ( )
1 vote Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I found Rosemary surprisingly likable. She seemed sensible enough, although she bowed down to her husband’s wishes far too often. (I guess that’s the ’60s for you.) But at least Rosemary began to question things and put two and two together, unlike many characters in horror movies and books. Somehow I just can’t enjoy it as much if the main character doesn’t put up some sort of semi-intelligent fight. I was really rooting for Rosemary. Her behavior at the end of the story nearly killed me (but I loved it—what a great ending).

In the afterword of the book, Ira Levin notes that the suspense of a coming event can often be the scariest part of a story. Rosemary’s Baby is nearly all suspense—throughout the novel, I slowly pieced together clues about the Castevets’ evil religious practices, their motives and strange behaviors, and as Rosemary’s demonic fetus grew within her, so did my sense of dread. What was going to happen? Was it going to kill her? Burst out of her? Possess her? I had no idea. I loved the suspense—it’s what made it so frightening. The impending doom. Knowing that something evil was coming, was growing inside the protagonist.

Most of the real horror in this book happened offstage, so to speak, which added to the sense of doom. Until the very end, there were only hints here and there—the smell of tannis root, the black candles, the sounds of a recorder and chanting through the wall. The strange “nutritional smoothies” Minnie made for Rosemary. The sudden, suspicious illnesses of various people. The closest we get to any real “action” is when Rosemary is raped and impregnated—she has been drugged, so we see it through her dreamlike semi-aware state. I thoroughly enjoyed putting all the clues together while reading.

I recommend this book if you want to read a creepy, ominous story, but not a terrifying one. It’s pretty great. Now I have to go watch the movie. ( )
1 vote blackrabbit89 | May 6, 2016 |
This was quite creepy, but not as much as I would have thought based on how much a small part of the movie scared me when I saw a small bit of it on tv way back in the dark ages of my childhood. ( )
1 vote Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (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.
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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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451194004, Mass Market Paperback)

When published in 1967, Rosemary's Baby was one of the first contemporary horror novels to become a national bestseller. Ira Levin's second novel (he went on to write such fine thrillers as A Kiss Before Dying, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys from Brazil), Rosemary's Baby, remains perhaps his best work. The author's mainstream "this is how it really happened" style undeniably also made the novel his most widely imitated. The plot line is deceptively simple: What if you were a happily married young woman, living in New York, and one day you awoke to find yourself pregnant? And what if your loving husband had--apparently--sold your soul to Satan? And now you were beginning to believe that your unborn child was, in reality, the son of Satan? Levin subtly makes it all totally plausible, unless of course, dear Rosemary--or the reader--can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality! A wonderfully chilling novel, it was later faithfully transformed into an equally unnerving motion picture. In 1997, a sequel was spawned, Son of Rosemary. --Stanley Wiater

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Witchcraft and terror await Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse when they move into the ominous Bramford apartment building.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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