Karina Halle's Reviews > Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
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Apr 08, 12

Read from March 31 to April 08, 2012

4.5 stars

Recommended for: People who love classic horror, People who have seen the film, People who don't require a "happy" ending, People who like to throw their books across the room once they've finished

"What have you done to its eyes?!" From Fantomas to Polanski, much has been lifted from this classic horror book.

I'd seen the film a few times and was always surprised at how well it translated into this day and age. I'm a big classic movie buff so I know a lot of what they found "scary" back in the day doesn't really scare people anymore. But Rosemary's Baby holds up as a genuinely creepy, suspenseful and disturbing film.

And the book? It's exactly the same. Really, Polanski followed Ira Levin's novel to the tiniest detail, so I had no problem at all envisioning all the actors and I could see the apartment and the scene in the laundry room and I could hear the pitch-perfect dialogue. Polanksi also did an excellent job of casting Mia Farrow as Rosemary. I know this isn't a review of the film, but sweet and fiercely determined Rosemary was portrayed so perfectly.

This book plays on one of my greatest, well, fears. To be more precise, it casts a shadow of doubt on the protagonist so that no one around her believes her and that even she herself doubts some of the things she's suspecting. Then it takes the few people who could help her and reach out to her and it, um, disposes of them.

Feeling all alone, not knowing who to trust...I just can't think of anything worse.

Oh wait, yes I can. How about marrying an absolute shit-for-brains, immoral, reprehensible douchebag of a man? Her husband Guy represents the most vile, two-faced, self-absorbed monster I have ever read. I mean it. Sure he's not outright DOING anything (except letting SATAN IMPREGNATE HIS WIFE)but his unbelievable passiveness, selfish, happily ignorant attitude and quick, easy descent into evil just boiled my blood until I was RAGEASAURUS. I was so happy when Rosemary finally caught on that he was the scum of the earth and Satan's little bum buddy, I just wish she had opened her eyes sooner.

Overall, I can't find any flaws with this book. The writing was wonderfully descriptive but it only helped to build the scenes. Do we NEED to know that Rosemary grabbed a blue and white colored robe or that Minnie's silk was lime green? No, not really. But I saw the colors in my head and I think Levin's use of color helped to create a subconcious foundation for the events to come.

Perhaps not everyone will like this book...the ending is as vague and completely frustrating as the film's. There is resolution, just not the one you'd want. But I think Levin was wise to stick to his guns, play on the ferocity of a mother's instinct, and let the end be what it is: memorable.
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Reading Progress

04/05/2012 page 42
14.0% "Polanski was ever so faithful to the novel. Like, down to the color of Rosemary's dress."
04/07/2012 page 90
29.0% "Really enjoying Levin's writing style. Also, "Sure, Satan, you can have sex with my wife" - Guy's in the running for the World's Worst Husband Award."
04/07/2012 page 145
47.0% "Having already seen the film and knowing what comes next just racks up the tension. Eeep. Poor Hutch."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new)

Sue a horror classic! I read the book and saw the movie when I was a kid and it has stuck with me. Shudddddderrrr.


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