Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rosemary's Baby- Ira Levin Reviewed

In honor of last week’s semi- entertaining miniseries loosely based on the novel, I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite horror books. I remember reading Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby for the first time when I was 14 years old. Kind of a young age for a book riddled with adult themes and scary sequences, but I was hooked on Levin and his works and would soon afterwards learn about his other wonderful novels.  Summary and review after the jump

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems.

 I didn’t just happen upon the novel when I was 14. My sister was reading it for school and let me read it before she returned it to the library. It was as Dutch version, which I had no problem with, but the need to reread it in English stayed with me. I’ve read it in English a couple of times now and it constantly surprises me with its superb writing and wonderfully phrased dialogue and prose.  It is scary at the tight places, frustrating at others and actually funny too. Much like The Stepford wives, which if you’ve read other reviews of mine, you might know that it’s my favorite book, there is more to the story than meets the eye. This is not just a horror story, but rather a depiction of a young loving couple that struggles through the hardships of pregnancy and the emotions that come with it.  I feel that Levin wants to show the struggle of women in the man’s world. Rosemary is fighting for her independence, trying to make her own decision, while everyone around her, including her husband, try to bring her into submission. While some parts of the novel are frightening -especially so for a book written almost fifty years ago- the scariest things are those that are left unsaid. It still scares me how a couple so devoted to each other can become so easily fragile within such a short period of time. While Rosemary is a strong feminine character, Guy’s character is one who gradually seems becomes less admirable. His will to become a famous actor without thinking of the ramifications of his actions is truly mind-bending, considering how loving the couple is at the novel’s start. Levin demonstrates how nothing-and no one- is safe from outside influences, and he does so with wonderful imagery, a scary storyline and a haunting ending. For sure one of the best horror stories of the modern times.

You can buy Rosemary’s Baby here

And follow my tumblr and twitter for more craziness

No comments:

Post a Comment