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Whatever Happened To Baby Jane
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Whatever Happened To Baby Jane

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  517 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Book jacket: Baby Jane, a child star of early vaudeville, resented having to grow up in the shadow of her prettier sister Blanche Hudson, who became Hollywood's reigning love goddess. Now, some fifty years later, they are together and alone. And reality has toppled crazily into eerie fantasy. Blanche now finds she is growing old in the shadow cast by Baby Jane -- and a ver
Published (first published 1960)
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The Ultimate Tale of Sibling Rivalry

I have never seen the famous movie, but I have seen photos and short clips of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in it. This is a spooky, creepy story but it is told in a very amusing, campy way.

This book was way ahead of it's time. Being a child star is such a rough path in life. I don't know why, in this day and age, anyone would subject their own child to it. Before Lindsay Lohan, McCauley Culkin and Justin Beiber there was this little girl…

Remember Buffy from
What a great old classic horror story! After a suspicious auto accident cripples the beautiful and successful movie star Blanche Hudson, her troubled and jealous sister Jane, (once a child actress herself known as Baby Jane) becomes her sole caregiver.......and the nightmare begins.

With loads of suspense and a high creep factor, Baby Jane Hudson slowly goes off her rocker serving grotesque meals, committing a brutal murder (view spoiler) and generally cont

Anyone who knows me, knows that my favorite actress is Bette Davis, who starred in All About Eve, Dark Victory and What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? This was the reason why I picked up Henry Farrell's novel. In the case of Baby Jane I saw the movie before I read the book and thus began with wonder of how much had been adapted. In What Ever Happened To Baby Jane they were right on. It was an early Misery minus James Caan/Paul Sheldon getting his foot cut off, but enough about the movie.

I read the
Keith Chawgo
Henry Farrell is a classic horror writer who came to promience in the 60's. This will probably be his best remembered work due to the classic film starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The film is pretty faithful to the book except for some minor changes and some excellent character building that you do not find in the film. As you get three quarters into the final story, things take a turn to the dark side. It is darker than the film and it does seem to get under the layers that the film only ...more
This book was quite chilling - the movie version made with Bette Davis was very faithful to the plot. I enjoyed the fact that the story was written from the perspectives of multiple characters in the book. Definitely a quick read, but a memorable one.
I'm quite sure I never watched the movie all the way through so I was surprised by the twist at the end. An entertaining classic horror read taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level.
I began watching the movie once years ago, and has always been on Jane's side, considering Betty Davis' past compared to Joan Crawford's, as well as the competition arising during filming. After reading the novel however, I completely sympathised with Blanche. Her sister had been portrayed as mad and insane, and since the novel had been more directed towards her first person encounters overall, it was easier to be suspenseful for her fate. Reading books with film adaptations also arises question ...more
Yes, it was a novel first and, yes, it is as good as or slightly better than the movie. In this age of shock and gore it is a pleasure to read a horror story of such reticence and subtlety. For instance:
“Then, as the room and the objects inside began gradually to gather dimension and shape, she leaned sharply forward, and her eyes widened with horror. For a space of nearly fifteen seconds she stood breathlessly still and then, with a low, animal moan of numbed disbelief, she put out a trembling
'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane' is the story of Jane and Blanche Hudson. Jane known as 'Baby Jane' was a child star while Blanche was kept in the sidelines. Baby Jane's fame began to wane as she got older and Blanche became a star in her own right. Following a tragic accident, Blanche is confided to a wheelchair and is taken care of by Jane, over the years Jane has grown to hate Blanche while Blanche defends Jane's actions and hides herself from the world, how long can the sisters live with ea ...more
I loved the movie. But reading the book it was somewhat boring. Some parts got wanting to read more but most of it was boring. To me only reason why is because when it describes about certain things it's like ok I get it, let's move on. But it was an ok book.
It keeps you reading. I'm still not sure what my thoughts are about this story or the characters.
Apr 19, 2008 Tina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who can enjoy laughing at rather than with a book.
What a weird book! It was kind of cool how much it was like watching a 1950's horror film. Though its melodramatic and frivolous, it has a fun tone, and is kind of entertaining for how well it develops that tone.
Ronald Koltnow
Reading Farrell's novel WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? makes one appreciate the genius of Robert Aldrich. He made a fine movie out of a not very good book. The bones of the story are there, the terror, the entrapment, but Farrell overwrites terribly. It is the rare psychological thriller that is flowery in style. This edition also includes the story that inspired Aldrich's HUSH, HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE, and a couple of pulpier stories (one thriller, one comic, imitation James Thurber). In truth, ...more
Abby Mabb
The word, "sinister" turns me on. Judge me as you want, but it does, every single time.

This, this is one of the best. Secrets, regrets, resentment, outright hatred, craziness but still a hint of love and possibilities. If you are all "sunshine" and happiness, read this. I hope you become more human in all its sinister, dark but real facets.

A modern gothic tale, but timeless.

The movie versions were brilliant as well. The original one in 1962 with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis was a fucking master
Farrell takes the time to slowly build beautifully rounded characters and uncomfortable tension, supported by believable dialogue. Unfortunately, his stories tend to lose steam in the final pages, turning an excellent premise into an almost wasted opportunity. The saccharine ending of The Debut of Larry Richards spoils a taut thriller, while First, The Egg is a frippery that sits unhappily beside the darker stories in this volume. Baby Jane itself will always be an iconic story, though it too su ...more

Baby Jane Hudson was the breadwinner of her family in the age of Vaudeville and never lets her family forget it. The tables turn when Blanche Hudson becomes the movie star and Jane is only gets parts because Blanche demands it in her contract. At the height of Blanche's career there is an accident that leaves her paralyzed and dependent on Jane. Jane seems to relish in the role of caretaker as this leaves her to torment Blanche and get back on top.

I saw this movie on PBS one friday night
Many years ago I came across the film of the same name, I almost changed the channel, but upon seeing Baby Jane played by Bette Davis, wearing insane makeup and laughing with that throaty smoker’s voice, I dropped the remote and watched the rest of the film. I thought it was the most insane thing I had ever seen, and loved every minute of it. I loved the film even more when I learned through older members of my family that it was rumored that Davis and Crawford couldn’t stand each other.

Mitch D
Something so elegant, so utterly beyond reproach about reading period fiction written in the period from which it came. There's a subtle hypnosis in the telling--an echo in Jane's dialogue to the inimitable Bette Davis, an accurate simulacrum of her stilted, unique speech patterns.

The story itself is classic, and brings something new to the table for those who haven't been exposed to the film. Descriptive passages are vivd and real, characterization is full of depth and humanity. It's almost as
Mark Lancaster
This volume contains What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? - plus a couple of short stories by Charles F Myers. I liked Henry Farrell's work very much, Baby Jane probably more so. The former is a novella and the latter really a short story. I think Henry Farrell does a good job in Baby Jane of creating a dark, Gothic atmosphere. It's difficult, of course, not to be influenced by the film - or to picture Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as Jane and Blanche, but ...more
This book is simplistically written but oh so good! You think you know who the bad guys and good guys are. HA. There are a few twists and turns that totally blow your perspective out of the water. It is obvious by the description of Jane that she was written with Bette Davis in mind. There is also a bonus story and it just happens to be the inspiration for Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.

Highly recommended.
I am so happy to have finally read this book! I have seen the movie over a dozen times (it's my favorite film of all time). I can't believe the differences I found from the movie and the original book. I feel like, though the title is 'What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?' that the book focuses more on Blanche. At least in the beginning. And to see Jane Hudson grow more dangerous and violent yet feel so guilty after kinda broke my heart. If Blanche had been honest, I honestly think all of this would ...more
Jasper Dekimmel
A writing style straight out of the pages of Reader's Digest belies a campy yarn of sibling rivalry. Youngest siblings will appreciate this book, and hopefully it will teach future generations of older siblings not to be such damn assholes. I rate the suspense a 5; characters 4; writing style 3. Overall a solid 4 stars if you can get over the old-timey imagery and language.
Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book. I thought it was boring and that the characters were very immature. I felt like there were a lot of places where the main character just went back and forth about what action should should take instead of actually doing something. I didn't get emotionally invested in any of the characters and really was just glad when the story petered out to an end.
Bill Sweet
This is one of those kind of books that I picked up at a tag sale when I was a teenager, and it just has followed me ever since, not getting read. Never saw the movie, though I'd like to now. Still can't get rid of the book, because it has that old tobacco-like smell that old books of a certain era get, and which you just don't find anymore. *sigh*

Anyhow, I found the story entertaining in a creepy/seedy Hollywood Babylon sort of way, though it kind of sputters at the end. Farrell, a screenwriter
Marcy Marrill
Well written description of psychosis...on the part of both main characters. I had seen the movie years ago, and will admit that it took me about half the book to really pull Bette and Joan out of my head and focus on what Mr Farrell had depicted.
I loved all of the suspense that this book had. It fills you with hope time and time again just to have each attempt of escape fail. The ending, oh my goodness, I couldn't believe it!
Jake Metcalf
Poorly written and devoid of meaning, '...Baby Jane' can only really be enjoyed when one appreciates how awful it truly is.
Callie S.
Qualcuno aiuti Abele

Benché non abbia visto il celebre film, ho deciso di colmare l’imperdonabile lacuna leggendo il libro. Purtroppo non potrei fare un confronto con la pellicola, ma il romanzo mi ha soddisfatto appieno: un po’ datato, certo, ma carico di una tensione emotiva e narrativa che mantiene dalla prima all’ultima pagina.
Baby Jane, grottesca bambina prodigio mai cresciuta, è, al contempo, carceriera e vittima, persa com’è in un irreale Paradiso in cui le lancette si fermano, i boccoli n
Dennis Brown
Amazing. It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Sibling rivalry at its finest. Now to watch the movie.
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