This week’s book recommendation is The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (published in 1972). I picked up this book, again like last week, from The Works. I was interested in the book because I enjoyed the 2004 Stepford Wives film that starred Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick immensely and I assumed, correctly, that this book inspired the film. The story is very much a feminist tale squeezed into a Novella-sized book. It’s the perfect book for light reading despite its hard-hitting message about the position of women in society.
Joanna Eberhart, our protagonist here, is a very stubborn woman willing to fight for her values. When her personality hits the town of Stepford, it’s certain that she’s going to find it difficult to overlook a number of suspicious circumstances. The book documents the struggle she has with the beautiful people living in serene Stepford and the façade of the town’s faultless appearance paired with the upkeep of her natural feminist values and her dislike of the archaic, and in her eyes, sexist, local Mens’ Association as well as test her relationship with her somewhat unsupportive husband.
‘The women of Stepford are not all that they seem… All the beautiful people live in idyllic Stepford, Connecticut, an affluent, suburban Eden populated with successful, satisfied husbands and beautiful, dutiful wives. For Joanna Eberhart, newly arrived with her husband and two children, it all seems too good to be true – from the sweet Welcome Wagon lady to all those cheerful, friendly faces in the supermarket checkout lines.
But beneath the town’s flawless surface, something is sordid and wrong – something abominable, with its roots in the local Mens’ Association. And it may already be too late for Joanna to save herself from being devoured by Stepford’s hideous perfection.’
A classic in its own right, this novella is really worth checking out. I’m a terribly slow reader and it usually takes me a while to finish a book, The Stepford Wives is one book I can proudly say sits on the very short list of books I read and finished in one day.