Book Review: THE STEPFORD WIVES, by Ira Levin

I bet you didn't even know this was a book, huh?

I didn't. Not 'til I found it for $.99 at Goodwill. And guess what? I've never seen the movie.

Which made reading the book extra fun. Really it's more a short story, and it's wholly engrossing--I couldn't stop reading STEPFORD, not even when I was at work. I'd sneak back to the break room to read a page or two at a slow moment because it was so stinking good.

Levin is sneaky with his story, he builds the suspense without letting on that there's stuff to worry about. I had this slightly uneasy feeling as I read--not a "What's wrong with those creepy wives?" feeling, nothing that clear--but a little prickly sense that something was off, much as Joanna herself must have felt, because who would jump to a conclusion so sick and wrong right off? Who would really think that something so bad was happening? Sometimes the reader has the distance to see more outlandish possibilities in a story than the characters can, but Levin is masterful at holding the reader right in with the characters.

You all know the plot, so I won't summarize, but I will mention that I think the men get a bad wrap in this story. Yes, there's all that Women's Lib stuff and the women are the ones victimized, but what happens to the men in that creepy building that makes them want this? Is Levin hinting that deep down men want wives like this, but most never act on it, or what? This matter intrigued me, though I can't make heads or tails of it.

Either way, good story. Very good.


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