Thursday, November 28, 2013

Absolute Perfection. A review of Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives

In honor of it being my Birthday today, I thought I’d write about one of my (and perhaps my actual)favorite books. I read Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives for the first time when I was 17 years old. I’ve since read it many more times and I keep coming back to it. Summary and review after the jump

Joanna Eberhart moves with her husband Walter, and their two children to the quiet suburb of Stepford. She encourages her husband to join the local Men’s association while she herself tries to engage herself with the other women of the community. It soon becomes clear to Joanna that the women of Stepford are obsessed with being the quintessential housewife, having given up all forms of recreation and hobbies, which she comes discover they used to have but have all but abandoned. Together with two other women who just moved to town, Joanna tries to uncover the mystery of the women and how their fate is connected to the Men’s’ Association. When her two friends also start changing, Joanna is afraid it might be too late to save herself

So here’s the thing, I’ve come across many people who hated the book. They call it misogynistic, and it promotes the oppression of women. I disagree. The way I see it, Levin tries to demonstrate the exact opposite. Joanna is a strong female figure who tries to do her best for her family under the worst circumstances imaginable. The story is trying to show how living in a man’s world strips you of your identity and how you need to fight to keep yourself intact. On another level, the novel is an allegory for the oh-so-popular consumerism, which, even in a recession, is still ever growing. The hunt for perfection and constant buying has real life consequences and the women are a clear example of that.  The novel is a wonderful addition to the science fiction/ horror genre. As to what exactly happens to the women, I’m not sure myself though over the years I have thought of a few possibilities. The only real bad thing I can think of about this book is that I may have loved it even more if it had 200 extra pages. While it’s able to tell the story very well in its few pages- it comes in at around 200 pages-  I really would have liked to see what Levin could have done with a few extra pages. That being said, to me, the novel as it stands is a masterpiece and I hope you consider getting it as a holiday gift (or just as a treat) for you or a loved one.

If you’ve read The Stepford Wives leave a comment telling me what you thought about the novel and what really happened to the women of Stepford.

You can buy the Stepford wives here
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