Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

I can handle watching or reading just about any level of horror... so what was it about this tiny little novella that I read in an hour that truly chilled me? First, I have never seen the movies... so I had no real preconceived notions other than having seen the commercials. Something about being a girl, who was raised in a society where everything tells you that you have to be beautiful, you have to be talented, and above all you have to be perfect or you are nothing... this book really taps into that mantra. The feeling that every little girl has that "I'm not good enough" most of us (hopefully) follow that up with "but at least I'm ME" and that is where the terror of this book lies.

What if the ultimate deceiver, the true villain is the one person who should love you the most, your protector, your partner, your husband. What if he would change you... take away your identity for his own pleasure... and what if everyone was on his side. How would you hold on, how could you escape?

As you can tell this book really hit a nerve with me... true I was born in 1978, so this was a little before my time, but it hasn't changed all that much even though we want to think so. The book is really about men's desires, or Levin's interpretation of them. That they would be willing to sacrifice their wife's very identity, her being, to make her a mindless barbie that did what they pleased. The men in this book are truly horrifying beings... but even more frightening is that this is a doubt shared by all women, across the globe. From a young age we are taught to doubt ourselves, our physical appearance, our mind, our talent, the love of others. I know women with genius IQ's who act like idiots because that is what men want from them. Though there is no magical overnight drug that can do this to a woman... there is the lifelong barrage of the media and society which does a pretty good job in and of itself.

Off my soapbox now. This book freaked me out... it was very well written, very tight and compact, and rediculously short for the price. I would advise getting it from a library, a used book store, or a friend rather than spending the cover amount on it. Mainly because it is so short. Still, I think this book has a lot of meaning, this book should be read and discussed with others... and to the ladies out there... odds are you will end up a bit unsettled and a bit angry at the end of it all.

1 comment:

rohit said...

An enjoyable read The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.