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review 2018-09-09 18:29
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

I’ve always had a soft spot for Ira Levin and saw this book on a list when I was looking for something to fill the terror in a small town square. I haven’t seen the film and came to it as unspoilt as is possible with such an iconic story.

 

The story follows Joanna, who’s just moved to Stepford with her husband, Walter, and two children. When she moves in she wants to make some friends in the community, but soon becomes aware that the women of Stepford aren’t interested in much other than housework.

 

A central focus is the men’s association which is a group for the men of Stepford to preside over community matters, although this is never clearly defined. Immediately Joanne is unhappy with this, being a big supporter of the women’s liberation movement. She tries, without much success, to start a women’s group in the community, but eventually finds out that something similar was in effect several years ago. She then begins to wonder why the women of Stepford have changed so dramatically, going from women who had their own group and were interested in feminism, to women who are apparently only interested in housework. She beings to uncover the secrets of Stepford slowly, with the help of her friend, Bobbie.

 

For such a short book it has a big impact and raises a lot of question, many that are still relevant now, like whether men actually appreciate women for themselves, or just what they represent in a home. Aside from the themes, I always enjoy the sparse writing style of Ira Levin as it makes space for more character-building. His books never meander, sticking very much to the point. Nothing he gives the reader is filler and always has a point.

 

There were quite a few questions left unanswered and as I’m not a proponent of ambiguous endings, that wasn’t my favourite aspect, but the power of the story made up for it in spades.

 

                      

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text 2018-09-06 14:24
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

Next read. I've always enjoyed Ira Levin and I come to this one mostly unspoilt.

 

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text 2017-09-28 23:10
Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

It must be getting on for 40 years since I read this and teenage me thought it wasn't just creepy, but it was disturbing as well. It's dated now, but it's still as creepy as ever.

 

And thanks to this book, I always surreptitiously check out everyone's grocery carts when I'm in the supermarket. Neatly packed carts are a dead giveaway.

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text 2017-09-28 22:22
Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

"That's what they all were, all the Stepford wives: actresses in commercials, pleased with detergents and floor wax, with cleansers, shampoos, and deodorants. Pretty actresses, big in the bosom but small in the talent, playing suburban housewives unconvincingly, too nicey-nice to be real."

 

Run Joanna, run!

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text 2017-09-28 20:43
Halloween Bingo 2017 - American Horror Story
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

Are you a Stepford Wife? Take this quiz and find out.

 

Your husband is out at a ‘Men’s Association’ meeting. Do you:

A - Change into your comfiest leisure pants, grab a six-pack and watch Thursday Night Football

B - Ring your mother and complain about him being out all the time

C - Wax and polish the family-room floor

 

You need to go to the supermarket. What do you wear?

A - Purple velour leisure suit

B - Jeans and t-shirt

C - White gloves, summer dress, and coordinated jewelry

 

What sport do you play?

A - Rugby

B - Marathon running

C - Tennis (those white outfits are just so cute and don’t show the sweat)

 

What hobbies do you enjoy?

A - Drinking beer and eating nachos is a hobby, right?

B - Kick-boxing.

C - I don't have time for hobbies. This house doesn't clean itself you know

 

Mostly ‘A’: Oh honey. You need to stop channeling your inner Waynetta Slob, and get yourself a decent haircut. And try wearing some lipstick once in a while. And fumigate the house while you're at it. 

 

Mostly ‘B’: You’re like Calamity Jane before her makeover. You just need to do some extra housework, and put a little more care into your appearance. We suggest getting up at 4:30am to give yourself plenty of time to get it all done. 

 

Mostly ‘C’: Congratulations. You are a perfect Stepford wife. Admittedly your windows sparkle more than your conversation, but there is no outfit that can't be coordinated, and no floor that doesn't need polishing. Now put on that cute little sun-hat and get yourself to the supermarket.

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