The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin, 1972

My favorite quote: “What’s the going price for a stay-in-the-kitchen wife with big boobs and no demands?”

Notable characters: Joanna Eberhard, the new-to-Stepford photographer; Water Eberhart, her husband; Bobbie Markowe, Joanna’s only friend and confidant

Most memorable scene: Its ending … which is open to all kinds of possibilities and interpretations 

Greatest strengths: Clean, direct prose

Standout achievements: In The Stepford Wives, you get a riveting and terrifying tale of horror that somehow tackles civil rights and gender equality issues without missing a beat. 50% horror and 50% feminist text, this book has the rare ability to entertain as it enlightens, with a compelling plot that appeals equally to men and women alike

Fun Facts: Upon the publication of this book, the term “Stepford wife” (which generally refers to a subservient woman who cooks too much, cleans too much, and whose sole ambition is to please her husband) came into common use 

Other media: The 1975 film of the same name, starring Katherine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, and Tina Louise. The 2004 remake starring Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, Bette Midler, and Matthew Broderick 

What it taught me: That writing a fictional book with a social message can work, and well, as long as you wrap it up snug in a damned good story 

How it inspired me: Walter was so good at gaslighting Joanna that he was also gaslighting the reader. There are a million ideas and plot possibilities in that … 

Additional thoughts: As much as I love this book (and I do!) The movie is (slightly) stronger. And by “movie” I mean, of course, the 1975 original. Don’t even get me started on the 2004 remake. I’m not sure what that one was all about, but whatever message the author had originally intended was surely entirely lost. So yeah. We don’t talk about the 2004 remake … 

Haunt me:

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

3 thoughts on “The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

  1. I totally agree about gaslighting Joanna AND the reader. I fell for it for awhile, until about 60 percent mark of the story. Levin is a skilled storyteller! (It helped that I went into the story totally clueless. I didn’t know what the plot was at all.) The movie remake was colorful and (appropriately) plastic-looking on screen, but it tried to be funny which didn’t work for me.

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