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The Stepford Wives

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  18,862 Ratings  ·  1,297 Reviews
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.

At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values th
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Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 23rd 2002 by Perennial (first published 1972)
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
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, ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 29, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, book-to-film
“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
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Dan Schwent
Nov 10, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
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
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Carol
May 10, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it
I REALLY do like Ira Levin's style of writing!

There's a frightening secret in the town of Stepford, and Joanna & Bobbie hope to get out of Dodge before it's too late, but the Men's Association is powerful and time is running out.

THE STEPFORD WIVES is a creepy little satirical novella that proves (some) men are pretty shallow or really were afraid of the Women's Liberation Movement!

Suspenseful and deadly read!

Kristen
Oct 09, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, classics
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 ...more
Lyn
May 25, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
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
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Becky
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
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Susanne
Feb 12, 2013 Susanne rated it really liked it
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
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Ana Mardoll
Jul 17, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
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
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Michael
Sep 22, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Cheryl
Jan 30, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it
It's so hard to rate this book. I've seen the 1975 film version. I knew what to expect from the plot, so it didn't have any real surprises for me. However, I do think the book is worth reading. It really needs to be read as a historical novel set in 1972, as I don't think it's as pertinent to how society is today - at least in the U.S. . I think it played on the concerns of women at that time, as their role in the family was starting to change.

I think the book is alot more ambiguous than the fil
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Andrew
Oct 27, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
A very complex book: a commentary on the way we look at women and the role women have been assigned for centuries. The horrific aspect of the novel is that (in the end) the real question is: who really has lost their humanity?
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
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Jen
What’s scarier than zombies, alien beings that Will Smith fought in films from the '90s, and Nicki Minaj’s “music”? A suburban community that is being run by a group of straight (White) men.

The Stepford Wives is the crème-de-la-crème of speculative fiction and horror. It's an extremely tense and quick read that Ira Levin wrote as a direct commentary on the burgeoning “second wave” feminism movement of the 1970s. Levin’s tale is a revenge fantasy of sorts, a somewhat satirical prod towards women
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Jessica-Robyn
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
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Kavita
Aug 19, 2015 Kavita rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Em
Apr 29, 2015 Em rated it really liked it
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
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juan carlos
Un libro con una narrativa ligera y capítulos cortos que hacen que se vaya rápido. Ira levin trata de darle un giro a la temática que maneja en sus otros libros pero no me término de convencer.

1. Puntos buenos: Los personajes son bien sustentados y argumentados , la crítica que hace ante el machismo y feminismo se ve claramente mientras avanzas las hojas. La personalidad de la protagonista jamás decae.
2. Lo malo: La historia es plana, no avanza, a veces es muy reiterativa. Llegando a la segunda
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Jonetta
May 25, 2015 Jonetta rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Joe Valdez
Mar 13, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was ok
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.
Celine
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
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Т.
Давам три звезди преди всичко за оригиналната, зловеща идея, с елементи на социална сатира. Все пак книгата е писана преди повече от 40 години и тогава е звучала доста по-актуално, въпреки че защо и сега да няма своите основания. Със сигурност в известна степен се стимулира поведението и на жени, и на мъже по конфекция. А и не е като да няма все още хора, които ригидно да следват някакви стереотипни представи за женственост/мъжественост, дори когато вътрешно не го желаят само защото е социално ...more
Mmars
Jul 16, 2012 Mmars rated it really liked it
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
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Donna
Aug 09, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I'm engaged in a program to discuss speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I was unfortunately unable to attend last week's meeting "horror bootcamp" and I wasn't too unhappy because the Stephen King book I was to read I found just about unreadable -- and it hadn't even gotten "scary" yet. Having read "The Stepford Wives" in less than twelve hours, I feel I've now met my horror-reading commitment.

The scariest thing about this book is that there is no explanation for what i
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Kirsty
Aug 15, 2016 Kirsty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: august-2016
I picked this up in Fopp in London after handing in my MA dissertation; how better to celebrate, I ask you. I cannot believe that I've never read it - or, in fact, any of Levin's work - before; I very much enjoyed the film when I watched it many years ago, and the book has always been rather high on my TBR. I was actually rather surprised by how short it is; my paperback copy only ran to 140 pages.

Regardless, The Stepford Wives is such a clever book, which has been intelligently written and marv
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Sarah
I thought this story was good, but strangely enough the movie with Nicole Kidman was far better. For once the movie fleshed out the story more than the original book, plus the movie had a much better, more satisfactory ending (although maybe not as disturbing).

23/1/2016 - Just watched the Nicole Kidman movie for the first time since reading the book and I definitely like the movie's ending better than the book's.
Alex
Aug 25, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rth-lifetime, 2015
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
Darth J
Jun 06, 2013 Darth J rated it it was ok
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
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8050
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
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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.” 17 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.” 13 likes
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