SJ's Reviews > The Stepford Wives

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
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's review
Sep 24, 11

What a clever and disturbing story. I've referred to people as being like Stepford wives before without really knowing what I meant. The general idea of the story had filtered down to me from popular culture, but I had managed to miss both the movies and the books up until now. I'm glad I got around to reading it now, if only to be certain I'm using the concept correctly.

The main character's family moves to a creepy community where men belong to a guarded society and women are obsessed with being the perfectly stereotypical wives. The main character is disturbed, particularly when it becomes clear that the longer you spend there the more like the stereotype the residents become.

The beauty of the book is the wondering. The story builds a slow burning curiosity and dread. Not a lot happens very quickly and so some will dislike the story as a result. But the point is the way the wondering starts to drive you crazy.

Also brilliant is the way the author seems to make fun or slyly discredit the main character in subtle ways. You feel after awhile that maybe, just maybe, the author thinks the big reveal at the end is a good thing instead of an act of horror. It made for a quick but layered story that has kept me thinking well after I put it down.
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