The Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin (Review)

They never stop, these Stepford wives. They work like robots all their lives.

Rating: 3.5 stars

This book was massively unnerving. Unnerving enough that I finished the last page and immediately handed it to my housemate to read. Sitting at only 116 pages, it wasn’t a particularly long read, concise and quick but still powerful. I think the fact that it was so short was part of what made it so unnerving. A lot was left unsaid, a lot left to the reader’s imagination, which I liked as it made it easy to get inside Joanna’s head. She was having to make as many assumptions as I was as a reader to try and find out what was happening in this crazy little neighbourhood she’d moved into. I made a note, while reading, of one particular quote, ‘[He’s] a pretty wonderful guy, and I’ve been lazy and selfish.’, because this is the exact line where I got the uncanny valley feeling of something isn’t right here. It’s hard to discuss this novel without spoilers, but it’s safe to say that this was a rollercoaster of a read, and well worth its short length, if only for the sense of absolute horror that started to creep in in the latter half of the novel. 

As a woman, this novel was particularly frustrating, but not because it was badly written, or even as the female characters were hard to relate to. Considering that this was a novel written in 1972 by a male author, Joanna is relatable even today, and what made me so frustrated and angry at points was the way that she was faced by cookie cutter perfect women at every turn, and the implication that she should behave like that too. I wasn’t angry about Joanna, I was angry for her, and I loved it. This book is wild, and everyone should spend an hour or two reading it.

Note: This review was copied verbatim from my Goodreads account dated May 18th 2019.

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