The Bad Seed
What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William March's classic thriller. After its initial publication in 1954, the book went on to become a million-copy bestseller, a wildly successful Broadway show, and a Warner Brothers film. The spine-tingling tale of little Rhoda Penmark had a tremendous...more
Rhoda Penmark, the eight-year-old serial killer, is quite chilling and convincing given what we now know about the psychopathic personality profile. Born wi ...more
I mean, seriously, why can't people just let her have her way, then she wouldn't t be angry and upset, and take revenge on those who " done ...more
March's prose is spare, which works well in highlighting the turmoil and tension created by the story of a child born bad.
The narrative isn't from the child herself, but from her mother Christine, who slowly uncovers her own d ...more
"If the common soldiers of each army could just get together by a river bank and talk things over calmly, no war could possibly last as long as a week."
If only it were true. That reader is also an expert in crime noir, and he reminded me about this novel, which takes a far more damning and sad view of people. Another early Marc ...more
Update: August 2,2014
OMGOSH! I do not know how I missed this excellent horror flick, and I must admit I thoug...more
What would you do if you suspect your child isn’t simply odd, but might just be a serial killer?
If I didn’t already know, there is no way I would have guessed this book to be 60 years old. A chilling thriller about Rhoda Penmark and how she always makes sure to get whatever her little heart desires. If you like tales of the macabre that keep you on the edge of your seat up to the last page, put this classic on your to-read list.
I did like the twist regarding Rhoda's mother, ...more
William March’s The Bad Seed has a grotesque quality in both plot and characters. The sentimentality of suburban life is sharply contrasted with random, startling violence. March presen ...more
I love that rather than setting things up as a mystery, the reader is left with little doubt about Rhoda's true nature. The story here is more about Rhoda's troubled mother, Christine, and her struggle to both accept the truth and to decide what to do about it.
The other ...more
How does that work? Well, I suppose there was something doll-like about Rhoda. She has to be one of the scariest book villains ever. Another reason to give children a wide berth (as if I needed one). This was a very scary book - the evil twin of We Need To Talk About Kevin. Only Christine, Rhoda's mum, never did talk about Rhoda. To anyone. And it did not end well, people! I could've lived without ...more
There are a number of ideas running through this little suspense novel. Far more than you'd expect from what was intended to be a 1950s pulp paperback. Much has been discussed about March's treatment of the serial killer, from his accurate portrayal of a sociopath to the less than likely notion that such pathologies are hereditary. Yet, as Elaine Showalter rightfully states in her introduction to the 1997 Ecco edition, "Contemporary readers may sens ...more
Overall , I enjoyed the story immensely and look forward to watching the old B/W movie. 4.5 stars
This is definitely a creepy book. The idea of a child who does heinous things and feels no remorse? Hideous and frightening. It makes me want to read about female serial killers, but that just might creep me out TOO much!
The downfall of the book is its predicta ...more
In William March's deeply intriguing novel we follow the primary theme of Nature vs Nurture, and we're forced to raise the question if one is born evil, or if it is something we pick up and learn along the way.
The story of a child sociopath, something of a rarity in both literature and everyday life, intrigued me from beginnin ...more