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Stepford Wives
Ira Levin
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Stepford Wives

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  16,126 ratings  ·  1,049 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 o

Mass Market Paperback, 0 pages
Published February 12th 1975 by Fawcett (first published 1972)
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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
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
Dan Schwent
When Johanna, Walter, and their children move to Stepford, everything seems perfect. A little too perfect, in fact. Why do all the Stepford wives live to do housework and please their husbands? Is their a conspiracy afoot or are Johanna and her friend Bobbie imagining things?

The Stepford Wives is a paranoid thriller by Ira Levin. There is also quite a bit of social satire as well. What would a community be like if all the women behaved like the stereotypical 1950's style housewife?

It's a pretty
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
Ira Levin’s 1972 novel The Stepford Wives is a darkly comedic and satirical modern horror story with cautionary but subtle overtones.

Originally and commonly misunderstood to remark upon the growing feminist movement in the late sixties it is instead a scathing indictment on conservative attacks on women’s liberation.

Levin describes a family that has recently moved into the quiet suburban township of Stepford, where a caste of upwardly mobile male professionals have barricaded themselves into an
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 st
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
This is a fascinating book which I have had for a while now (along with a number of other Ira Levin titles) which I have been meaning to read.

I think along with such titles as The Day of the Triffids, The shining, (the list can go on and on) Stepford Wives is one of those books that is instantly recognised but is not so easily recounted. I have know of the film from my early days of following science fiction (it was often listed along side Westworld as classic in robots are replacing us lists) b
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
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
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
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
Oh My Gosh! What a brilliant, brilliant book! I think this is what happened to so many of my lively, entertaining and interesting friends after marriage. They've become slaves to their homes and their families, and somehow they are even worse off than the women in this book, because they also go to work. One of them irons her husband's underwear! Another gets up and cooks even when she is sick. Their husbands don't do a scrap of work at home, even though they both work full time. They need permi ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Shalini rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all women, especially married ones with kids.
I recently read The Shining which was one of the most chilling horrors I read as it introduced horror step by step, and by letting one know that ordinary things wait for you...
And barely a couple of weeks later, I started this book, which I thought to be a quick contemporary read describing the lives of the village housewives. I was wrong. It was a quick read agreed, but not at all placid, which was what I was aiming for. My bad, since I started this without reading the reviews/blurb as the titl
Unlike most of my reviews, this review contains hints towards the final revelation in The Stepford Wives. It's safe to read if you know what the story is about, or if you have ever seen one of the movie adaptations.

A few years ago I wrote an essay about the movie of The Stepford Wives (2004) and how it fit in with the Pygmalion myth. To give a quick recap - Pygmalion is a character from Greek mythology who sculpted a woman and fell in love with the statue. Aphrodite, sucker as she is for a love
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.
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
The Stepford Wives are one of the great metaphors, up there with Hester Prynne's letter and Carrie's telekinesis; you probably know the idea even if you've never read the book or seen the movie you didn't even know was based on a book. Suburban ladies are suspiciously good housekeepers, is what it boils down to. And not only are the housewives of Stepford wicked into dusting, they have a tendency to give up all other interests - art, tennis, Betty Friedan - about four months into residence there ...more
Davonna Juroe
What a stellar novel.

I'd first heard of The Stepford Wives back in college after listening to my mom talk about how much the 1975 film disturbed her. I decided to watch it, and like my mother, many of the scenes got under my skin, and the multi-layered themes have continued to haunt me.

The novel is no less eerie and a clear example of literary brilliance, echoing a bit of E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Sandman.

The same stark contrast demonstrated in the film between the happy, contented wives and the mai
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
I am actually glad I saw the movie first before reading this (I'm referring to the 2004 remake with nicole kidman, matthew broderick and bette midler) simply because while this was interesting, it was quite short and left a lot up to interpretation, whereas the movie goes into a lot more detail. plus I loved picturing bette midler as bobbie markowitz the whole time I was reading ^_^

this book reminded me how much I love the movie and inspired me to watch it again. when it first came out, I saw it
I read this as a teenager when it was groundbreaking, coining the term "Stepford Wife" to describe the perfect wife. It was provocative at the time and interesting in concept. I recommend reading it just to understand the pop culture term alone, even if it is a bit dated.
Joanna Eberhart and her family are moving to Stepford, a small town in the country, because they need some rest. Joanna’s husband, Walter, decides to join the Men's Association. Joanna thinks of this as a ridiculous idea especially because she and her husband are active in the feminist association. She fills her days with photography, tennis and taking care of her children. It is difficult for her to find some friends in town because every woman in Stepford is the perfect housewife. Besides thei ...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
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
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)
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
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
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
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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 about Ira Levin...

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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.” 14 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.” 11 likes
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