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The Stepford Wives (1972)

by Ira Levin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,034924,434 (3.63)168
"For Joanne, her husband Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same."--Back cover.
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» See also 168 mentions

English (88)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I have to admit that Ira Levin was quite a discovery for me. It seems he is a prolific writer very like Philip K Dick but without that LSD-ish touch od PKD's novels.

Story starts with comments from very active and emancipated woman Joanne on her new neighborhood - together with husband and kids she arrives into suburban Stepford and starts looking around the neighborhood. First thing she notices is that women of Stepford dont have any social gatherings and generally have their lives centered around their husbands and house works - willingly and entirely! Everything looks like a throwback to some earlier times and Joanne is puzzled because it looks like gender equality and women rights movements somehow never gained traction in Stepford.

What starts as a rather simple detective story quickly spirals into that most horrifying of horror stories - one of complete lost of identity, oneself in its entirety without any way to prevent it. The very way story culminates ... it is superb storytelling. Reader is left in the dark about what exactly goes on and is left guessing. And this is additional strength of the novel, something needs to be left to imagination, right? And nothing creates dark assumptions as wandering mind.

Highly recommended to all fans of good thriller. ( )
  Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
At the outset, it's obvious that Levin is just recycling the ideas he had from Rosemary's Baby. The constant gaslighting. The usage of a hero vs a dystopian patriarchy. And the genre elements that are supposed to elevate the material.

The problem is that unlike the previous book, this one isn't compelling as a drama (or even a satire). There's no investigation of a mystery until far too late. The humor is bad. The suspense doesn't exist until nearly the end. And the downer ending leaves you with more intellectual questions and emotional ennui.

It could've been something: an examination of first wave feminism, modern approaches to gaslighting, and the stifling oppression of suburbia. Instead it is a massive miss, full of potential.

Avoid. ( )
  JuntaKinte1968 | Dec 6, 2023 |
Pretty slow and boring for the majority of it. Picked up in the last 30 pages. Very blatant but not terrible. ( )
  Readings.of.a.Slinky | Nov 20, 2023 |
Good, short classic read. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
Low pick. The pacing is a bit weird and the writing didn’t wow me. Also, its cultural relevance has diminished the twist (I’ve not seen the films and I still knew what was going on). Nonetheless, I felt it still had thematic potency, reflecting the lengths that some white, cis-het men in particular will go to in order to gain or maintain power. I found it quite bleak in that respect, particularly with the way it ended. A cautionary tale for sure. ( )
  psalva | Sep 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Levin, Iraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brom, Laurie LeeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holt, Heleen tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Straub, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velsen, A. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waberer, Keto vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Today the combat takes a different shape; instead of wishing to put man in prison, woman endeavors to escape from one; she no longer seeks to drag him into the realms of immanence but to emerge, herself, into the light of transcendence. Now the attitude of the males creates a new conflict: it is with a bad grace that the man lets her go.

—Simone de Beauvoir
The Second Sex
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To Ellie and Joe Busman
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The Welcome Wagon lady, sixty if she was a day but working at youth and vivacity (ginger hair, red lips, a sunshine-yellow dress), twinkled her eyes and teeth at Joanna and said, "You're really going to like it here! It's a nice town with nice people! You couldn't have made a better choice!"
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"For Joanne, her husband Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same."--Back cover.

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blurb: For Joanna, her husband Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic façade lies a terrible secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will never be the same.
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