Adventures in Reading

Revisited: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

I will admit that I had no idea there was a book birthing The Stepford Wives until I stumbled across a used copy for a bit of pocket change. I fell in love with the 1975 film version and left the theater with a bad taste in my mouth after the 2004 remake (an abomination!). The original book version lands some place in between.

Written during the height of the second wave of feminism, Levin has an independent and “liberated” Joanne move to suburban Stepford to escape the hustle, bustle, and crime of the city. The women all appear as actors from detergent ads and when her friend Bobbi turns into one of them – Joanne gets suspicious. It’s a bit of a pseudo-feminist portrayal with name dropping of Millet, Friedan, and Steinem, but without a lot of feminist discourse, antics, thought – anything – to back it up.

It’s a very short read, only a bit over a hundred pages and if you get the opportunity it’s a decent page-turner. But if you find yourself with an afternoon to kill I more highly suggest renting the 1975 classic and getting yourself a bowl of popcorn.

Definitely agree with myself on this one.

Other opinions: books i done read.


I just picked this up from the library the other day. Looking forward to it.

Comment by raych

I remember liking the book pretty much when I read it back in the 70s, but don’t know how I’d feel about it today. I enjoyed some of his other books much more – especially Rosemary’s Baby. I agree about the Stepford movie – loved the first one. Haven’t seen the remake, but the ads don’t make it look like something I could sit through.

Comment by JLS Hall

Raych: It’s a good summer book. I read it in an evening sitting on my apartment’s stoop while drinking large quantities of lemonade.

JLS Hall: It’s definitely a fun book and I always intend to get around to Rosemary’s Baby, but haven’t yet. I loved the film adaptation and I even had the book checked out once but it was due back before I had finished it.

Comment by bookchronicle

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