The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

This book is creepy.

Found on flickr.com, used under Creative COmmons, noncommercial refuse licence.

Found on flickr.com, used under Creative Commons, noncommercial refuse licence.

On one of my too frequent trips to Grimsby last month I found a copy of this classic novel in The Works. I’ve heard about The Stepford Wives; hasn’t every body?

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after reading the introduction I decided to buy the book and give it a read. The protagonist, Joanna Eberhart, moves to Stepford, Connecticut with her husband Walter and two young children. It seems idyllic and quiet after living in New York. Joanna is a photographer and women’s rights activist. She meets her neighbours and thinks they’re all a little too domesticated, until she meets Bobbie. Joanne and Bobbie are both uncomfortable in Stepford; the men all spend their evenings at the Men’s Association and the women spend all their time on housework. Determined to organise a Women’s Association the pair start canvassing the town and researching in the local library. They discover a few things that don’t add up. They both start househunting in other towns, determined to get themselves and their families away from the evil they sense in Stepford.

Then Bobbie changes, just like the rest of the Stepford Wives. Joanne meets a new friend, Ruthanne, a noted children’s author, who is new to the town.

Joanne starts to fear for her life; Walter insists she see a psychiatrist. She runs away only to be caught by other members of the Men’s Association.

 

It really freaked me out, reading this book, because the threat is palpable beneath the surface of perfection. I felt like one of those dreams where you’re trying to escape but can’t. Death and replacement by a robot is inevitable for the protagonist and her friends Bobbie and Ruthanne.

 

 

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