Sunday, 3 February 2013

Book review: The Stepford Wives

A while back there was a kindle offer for Ira Levin's first four, and most famous, books, and I've been occasionally making my way through them. Next up for me was The Stepford Wives, in which Joanna Eberhart and her husband arrive in the suburban town of Stepford and has trouble fitting in with the housework-obsessed, perfectly-proportioned women there. (She must have been lonely - the first appearance of her self-consciously "wacky" neighbour Bobbie would have had me heading for the hills, but Joanna embraces her eagerly just for having a personality.) But soon Bobbie also gets Stepfordised and Joanna starts to believe there's a conspiracy by the men of the town.

Of all the Levin books I've read this is perhaps most compromised by knowing what's going on beforehand, the title having even entered the language to describe a woman who seems a bit too "perfect." (And if you somehow went in not knowing, Chuck Palahniuk's introduction gives the twist away in the opening sentence, so even if like me you skip the introduction to books you haven't read yet, it's still hard not to get spoiled.) But I still enjoyed the satirical element of Levin's book, which imagines an extreme reaction to women's lib by threatened men, and it's fun putting the clues together about how they're doing what they're doing.

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