The Stepford Wives
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The Stepford Wives

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  12,890 ratings  ·  780 reviews
The internationally bestselling novel by the author of A Kiss Before Dying, The Boys from Brazil, and Rosemary's Baby

With an Introduction by Peter Straub

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 facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one...more
ebook, 144 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1972)
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Jeffrey Keeten
“That’s what she was, Joanna felt suddenly. 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 housewives unconvincingly, too nicey-nice to be real.”

 photo Stepford-Wives-1975-PIC_zps1669f67d.jpg
Katharine Ross stars in the 1975 movie version

Joanna Eberhart is an accomplished photographer. A woman comfortable with herself, in love with her husband, and raising two cha...more
Petra X
The Stepford Wives, a story of women who have no means of self-expression, might have been the story of real women in Jordan, Syria or Yemen. Women who are utterly controlled by their husbands but look quite normal, fashionable even as they no longer (have to) wear hijab. But it's the story instead of American women whose husbands would like to control them in the same way and, like Arab men, have no controls on themselves whatsoever. Unable to fulfil this desire in the usual ways of living, the...more
I can handle watching or reading just about any level of horror... so what was it about this tiny little novella that I read in an hour that truly chilled me? First, I have never seen the movies... so I had no real preconceived notions other than having seen the commercials. Something about being a girl, who was raised in a society where everything tells you that you have to be beautiful, you have to be talented, and above all you have to be perfect or you are nothing... this book really taps in...more
When it all boils down you gonna find in the end
A bitch is a bitch, but a dog is a man's best friend
So what you found you a hoe that you like
But you can't make a hoe a housewife
Clearly Dr. Dre has never been to Stepford. You can make ANYONE a housewife there.

In October 2011, I read Rosemary's Baby, and it was amazing. I'm glad that I read it before this one, though, because I feel like if I had read Stepford on its own, I might not have gotten as much out of it as I did, even though that's sti...more
Creepy, unsettling, horrific, made me want to sit and fume and hate men for a bit.

This book is even scarier than the original movie, although the movie provides more background and explanation as to how the murderous bits would actually work.

While some of the organizations and details in the story may be "dated," the core horror of this book is still -- and will always be -- with us:
How well do you really know your significant other?
If your husband could have the woman of his dreams, would he...more
Lauren Kennedy
I wasn't sure what to expect from this. It's my first Ira Levin book. I was definitely not disappointed.

The beginning was quite slow. It was basically just introducing characters and setting the scene of Stepford. But once Joanna started noticing things with the women of Stepford, I couldn't put it down. I read it in about 1-2 hours.

I love how it's not a typical horror that we'd see now. Everything is just very ominous, building up the suspense and nothing is very clear. I found the changes in...more
Horrific, not horror. Closer to science fiction.

Take suburban Texas circa 1950s and plop it into New England circa Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique and you will get this tale of gender roles and expectations. Throw in a little clichéd science fiction and you have the Stepford Wives.

Quite likely, this was written as a reaction to “The Feminine Mystique”. I’m not sure where Levin stood on the issue on the issue women’s domestic roles, but clearly he understood the backlash and that home l...more
Joe Valdez
Mar 13, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Six Million Dollar Man, the Bionic Woman, the Fembots
Shelves: sci-fi-general
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It first hit me on page 81, I was bored. So very, very bored.

My main problem and probably the reason I'm so disappointed can be summed up this way, on the back of the book there is this a praise by Stephen King:

"Every novel [Ira Levin] has ever written has been a marvel of plotting. He is the Swiss watchmaker of the suspense novel." - Stephen King

I absolutely agree that Ira Levin is an amazing writer and to have come up with and popularized this story I give him full credit and praise. However...more
Ana Mardoll
The Stepford Wives / 9780062037602

"The Stepford Wives" is one of those rare horror novels that reads even more creepily when you already know the twist at the end. I read it when I was younger and merely liked it; now that I'm older and re-reading it, I find it absolutely terrifying.

The most terrifying thing about the Stepford men isn't that they objectify their wives into sex-slaves and cleaning-bots; no, the most terrifying thing about the Stepford men is that they don't *seem* like the kind...more
Sep 22, 2012 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror Fans, Feminists, Satire Fans
Recommended to Michael by: Bryan Forbes
As Peter Straub points out in the introduction to this book, a lot of people miss the point. It is not "the easy satire on the banality of suburban housewives that it is commonly taken to be - a misconception that has installed its title in our language as shorthand for those homemakers who affect an uncanny perfection." This resulted in the fact that, after Ann Romney's recent speech at the RNC, I was asked whether I thought she was "like a Stepford Wife." No, she's not. For one thing, her voca...more

Fabulously creepy, suspense filled, suburban drama.

When Joanna moves to Stepford she finds it rather lacking in social activities or stimulating company. The women seem to relish housework, staying in to clean whilst their husbands attend the exclusive Men's Association. Soon the town begins to feel oppressive and Joanna starts questioning the women's obsessive behaviour.

Finally, proof that buying random cheap books works! I've heard 'The Stepford Wives' referenced to occasionally, I wasn't...more
Ok so obviously this is a cult classic. The phrase 'Stepford Wives' is in common usage, it is essentially a feminist scare story, and as such there is the possibility that it could appear quite dated, and to be fair some of the attitudes about sexual equality do seem rather dated. The introduction does make a very good point, however that female expectations are potentially slipping, with the idea for a large swathe of the population being catching an, ideally rich, man. This is a view often bac...more
I understand this was supposed to be a "shocking" social commentary for the time about how men just wanted women to be thoughtless robots who looked good and played house without any backtalk... but did men really want this back then? Have you ever been on a date with someone who looked good and agreed mindlessly with everything you've said and had no personality? If so, then you probably see where I'm coming from on this.

Despite the whole turning people into robots thing, I find the premise to...more
Wandoo Ityavyar
The Stepford wives is a succinct book written by Ira Levin. The book is exceedingly mind boggling in a lot of ways. First it was written by a man. And although it seems like feminist literature, Ira Levin does not necessarily identify as feminist nor does he claim to have a written a feminist book. He merely was inspired, perhaps on a cool rainy day when he was out on his porch sipping tea. He let his pen be the brush strokes that painted this immaculate book. Granted Ira's work of art was publ...more

SEE: My review for Rosemary's Baby - another 70's era, grave depiction of men. Sometimes I think that writers like Ira Levin were hired by the government to create male characters so loathsome ("Guy" in Rosemary's Baby, and that HIDEOUS husband in Diary of a Mad Housewife), to create high divorce rates and get women into the work force. Not really but kind of.

This book came out at a time when 2 important things were happening: the rise of feminism as a cultural political force which...more
I've previously seen both movie versions of The Stepford Wives and enjoyed them. I was excited to see how the book differed, and more importantly, what was left out of the movie. Turns out, the movies are very closely related to the book, as the book is very, very short. It's longer than a short story, but not quite novella length. It seems like the movies may have explained things a little more clearly and in depth than the book did.

There was absolutely nothing in The Stepford Wives that was sh...more
Are the dinners your family eats sometimes burned or not done right? Is your house a little dirty? Is your sexual relationship with your husband lacking?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then you should ask yourself, Does your husband attend a private men's only club? If so, beware! You could turn into the mysterious Stepford wife.

This book was written 9 years after Betty Friedan wrote and released her famous book The Feminie Mystique.

I have read parts of that book, and to be hone

This is honestly one of the scariest books I've ever read. Not in a cheap horror flick type of way, but in a very real psychological way. Levin pulls it off flawlessly too--it's a very well-crafted book. Even though I already knew the ending (I have seen the movie), I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Levin has this uncanny ability to put you in the place of the main character, Joanna. You feel her doubt, her anxiety, her fear--you are as utterly perplexed by the situation as she is. T...more
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 facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

It is interesting to watch the world unfold from the point of view of the main character, Joanna Eberhart, and to see it as a mirror image of our society. After a few chapters you start to wonder if you are seeing the town as it is or as...more
Well then...

One of the scariest things is to have no voice. That is exactly what happens to the women in Stepford. They are quieted by their husbands. The fact that a community could pull something like this off for 7+ years is an uncomfortable thought.

I think what drives me crazy about this book is Walter. How easy he came around to the ideas of the Men's Association. (view spoiler)...more
True story: there was a time when, for a few months, one of the online places I used to visit somewhat compulsively was the "Stepford Wives" thread at a certain conspiratainer's online message board. After finding my way there through Google search engine results, I was confused. "They can't be serious? ... They ARE serious! ... Well this is entertaining. ... Wait that person made a pretty good point. ...Oh. Oh THAT'S just crazy." After a while of reading all sorts of weird shit, and occasionall...more
Minyoung Lee
One of those books that I wish I had written first.

As someone who is utterly frightened of suburbia and was determined never to leave the city even with a husband and a string of kids, yet ironically ended up living in what seems to be the queen of suburbs as a single professional, this story of perfect housewives and the husbands who secretly crave for them did ring very true to me, even in the 21st century. It seems that the struggle of the modern woman, between wanting to be the perfect moth...more
I was expecting to be really frightened by this book. After talking with my mother about her reactions to the book and the original movie (I believe it came out in the 50s or 60s), I was expecting this book to send chills down my spine and really freak me out. Either I have been desensitized by all of the crime/violence on TV or I just don't get freaked out easily. I thought this book was well written and the premise behind it was fascinating: a group of men move their families to a community wh...more
I bought this in a Kindle sale for the bargain price of 99p! It's one of those classics that I know a bit about due to its prescence in pop culture, but have never read. I read it whilst on holiday in Canada last September but only just realised I hadn't put it on Goodreads yet. Amusingly enough, it turns out I'd seen the Nicole Kidman film some years before but had completely forgotten about it, Manda had to remind me I'd actually watched it with her! I'm glad I'd forgotten about it at the time...more
The Stepford Wives left me with a nasty squirmy feeling inside. It's a famous story, so of course I knew the basics already, but somehow the matter-of-fact delivery just really unsettled me. Maybe what unsettled me most was following a couple of links and finding out that people take it quite literally, or the explanation of the male protagonist masturbating to the idea of killing his wife and replacing her with a robot. Ughh. Really the creepiest thing is that this feminist, decent-seeming guy....more
The Stepford Wives is a hard book to review. Just as it's nigh-impossible for someone to see Citizen Kane for the first time without having already learned its famous twist, so too does every reader go into this book with the knowledge of what's to come. Similarly, it's hard to fully grasp the impact that this book must have made, coming into existence at the exact time it did - but we do, in fact, know that impact, by virtue of the Wives having so fully entered into the enduring cultural lexico...more
I think it's fair to say that even without seeing the movie, pretty much everyone has a pretty fair idea of what a 'Stepford Wife' is. Regardless, this novel shook me to my core and deeply disturbed me. It's quite reliant on teh time period it is set in, and probably would have had more impact closer to it's publication, but Ira Levin has succeeded in making me stop and think, and I think that alone deserves praise. Moral of the story: live for yourself, not anyone else, and resist the efforts o...more
"Ich habe den Verdacht, dass die Männer hinter allem stecken."

Auf dem Buchrücken der alten Heyne-Taschenbuchausgabe von 1977 liest man folgendes:
"Endlich schrieb Ira Levin wieder einen Roman in der Tradition seines Welt-Bestsellers ROSEMARIES BABY".
Ich will nicht behaupten, dass der Rezensent, der dieses schrieb, völlig neben der Spur war, möchte meine diesbezügliche Skepsis aber zwecks Wahrheitsfindung zumindest angeboten haben.
Mit ROSEMARIES BABY, einem Vollblut-Horrorroman über Satanismus, h...more
A Stepford le mogli sono donne perfette, sempre truccate, come appena uscite da una pubblicità, gentili e servili, senza alcun interesse oltre le faccende domestiche e la felicità del marito e della propria famiglia.
Un gioiello. Davvero, davvero inquietante.
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Night of the Livi...: July 2014 Selection: The Stepford Wives 1 3 Jul 22, 2014 12:38PM  
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Levin graduated from the Horace Mann School and New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English.

After college, he wrote training films and scripts for television.

Levin's first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from Mac Hyman's novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force that launched the career of Andy Griffith. The play was turned int...more
More about Ira Levin...
Rosemary's Baby The Boys from Brazil This Perfect Day A Kiss Before Dying Deathtrap

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“You're not going to get any true confessions out of me," she said. "I'm a Leo, and our thing is changing the subject.” 11 likes
“That’s what she was, Joanna felt suddenly. 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 housewives unconvincingly, too nicey-nice to be real.” 10 likes
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