Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stepford Wives

Apparently this is the week (or perhaps month) for reading feminist literature. I read Ira Levin's "Stepford Wives." I've seen both movies so I was familiar with the plot and themes. Reading the book, though, is a different experience. Especially compared to the (truly dumb) 2004 version.

Joanna isn't a stupid character; neither is Bobbie, nor are any of the other real women in the story. They are simply in a situation that is so unfathomable they don't realize the danger they're in until it's too late. I found it very believable that these intelligent women would give their husbands the benefit of the doubt up until the last, decisive moment. It's a testament to how far we'll rationalize strange behavior in others that Joanna and Bobbie both succumb to the men of Stepford.

Until I read it I hadn't thought of this as a science fiction novel, or as a thriller. It's both. Levin's female characters are asked to do these little, innocent things by their male neighbors--recording lullabies for the children, having a famous artist sketch your likeness, going away for a weekend with your husband--that are positively creepy knowing where the story goes. So subtle, so well done.

No comments:

Post a Comment