Saturday, October 7, 2023

Review of The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Genre = Novel
Book Club Event = Book List (04/20/2024)

Watch Short Review


“”If these men you spoke to were typical,” she said, “it would be the Everybody’s Association already.  Oh, all right, go ahead and join; I’ll think up slogans for placards.  I’ll have plenty of time when school starts.”” – Ira Levin, Page 6

“She hung up and sat looking at the phone and her hand on it.  The thought struck her – ridiculously – that Bobbie had changed the way Charmaine had.  No, not Bobbie; impossible.  She must have had a fight with Dave, a major one that she wasn’t ready to talk about yet.  Or could she herself have offended Bobbie in some way without being aware of it?” – Ira Levin, Page 80

“”No,” she said, shaking her head.  “No.  Whatever it is takes four months to work, which means I’ve got one more month to go.  Maybe less; we moved here September fourth.”” – Ira Levin, Page 84


Is This An Overview?

Joanna and family moved to Stepford.  A place of welcoming people.  Joanna is part of the Women’s Liberation movement, and is bothered by the fact that there is a Men’s Association, but no Women’s Association.  Joanna’s husband joins the Men’s Association in part to connect with the neighbors, but also to try to turn the association into Everybody’s Association.  As Joanna becomes familiarized with the neighborhood, strange interactions occur.  The women seem to be willing to do housework, and not much else.  Joanna meets others who arrived in Stepford shortly before Joanna, who are also interested in women’s empowerment. 

But for some reason, even independent minded and empowered women become compliant and submissive housewives eager to please their family and nothing else.  This change happens about four months after moving to Stepford.  Leading to questions about what can turn women’s personality in such a drastic way.  Maybe it is chemicals in the soil or water.  Maybe the wives are turned to robots.  Maybe it is just women changing their minds.  Maybe it is Joanna losing a grip on reality.  Based on what Joanna thinks, Joanna does not have long to figure out what is happening in Stepford until Joanna might change into someone Joanna does not want to be. 



A short and easy to read book.  There is a long buildup of information until the suspense is actualized.  The importance of some information would be more readily recognized by those who know the era’s history of women’s empowerment movements and leaders.  

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•What is happening at Stepford?
•How do the people interact with each other?
•What suspicious interactions does Joanna have? 
•Should Joanna leave Stepford?
•What happened to the Women’s Club?
•What is the Men’s Association?
•Who is Bobbie?  
•Who is Charmaine? 
•What are Joanna’s beliefs and values?  
•Why does Walter join the Men’s Association?  
•How do the wives in Stepford behave? 
•How do the women change?  
•Why do the women change?  
•What happens to Joanna at the end? 

Book Details
Introduction Author: Peter Straub
Edition:                   Perennial edition
Publisher:               HarperCollins Publishers
Edition ISBN:         9780060080846
Pages to read:          130
Publication:             2002
1st Edition:              1972
Format:                    Paperback 

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          3
Overall          3