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The Stepford Wives Paperback – July 23, 2002

163 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Levin was a hot commodity in the 1960s and 1970s, cranking out horror potboilers like Rosemary's Baby, The Boys from Brazil, and this 1972 title, all of which share the common theme that people aren't always who or what they seem. This slim volume finds protagonist Joanna and husband Walter and kids leaving the wicked city for the bucolic town of Stepford. Despite its ideal facade, the sleepy little storybook town actually is more wicked. Joanna soon notices that her female neighbors are all body and no brains and seemingly exist only to do housework while their husbands gather nightly at a mysterious men's club. Even worse, it appears that the women who moved there just before her suddenly begin morphing into hausfraus built like swimsuit models-and she's next! It's hard to tell if this is a stab at the feminist movement or simply a male fantasy, but it's a fun read and will keep you turning the pages. Note also that a new feature film based on this story is in the works.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“[Ira Levin] is the Swiss watchmaker of the suspense novel.” (Stephen King)

“An efficient German motorcar of a book--masterful, ridiculously well crafted, and, like the ladies of Stepford themselves, flawless.” (Esquire)

“Chilling...Entertaining...Read it.” (Austin American-Statesman)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060080841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060080846
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ravenskya VINE VOICE on October 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Pray on May 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many of you that have already read this book and like the many of you who right now are searching high and low for a copy will eventually need to do, I scoured the countryside(alright, just library shelves)before I found this modern classic. "The Stepford Wives," short though it may be, is still one of my favorite books. It's a genuinely creepy story written with a feminist touch that you can't help but appreciate. It deals with a young couple who move to the small town of Stepford and hope to become part of its social scene. But when the protagonist's husband suddenly becomes involved with an exclusive and secretive men's club who seek to control their wives in a fashion more sinister than any reader could anticipate, she begins to fear for their safety. Through time, the term "Stepford Wife" has become a pop culture reference, and deservedly so. I'll let you have the satisfaction of finding out why.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a thought provoking, tautly written novella. A gem of suspense, it was first published in the early nineteen seventies and went on to become a popular movie of the same name, starring Katherine Ross. There is now a remake of the film version, starring Nicole Kidman in the lead role with Bette Midler in a supporting role and Christopher Walken as head of the sinister Men's Association described in the book. So, interest is now renewed in this very readable book, which, despite its simplicity and brevity, is a thinly disguised social commentary on the reaction of men to the early women's liberation movement.
The story is very simple but gripping and well written in clear, straightforward prose. Joanna Eberhart moves to the seemingly bucolic town of Stepford with her husband, Walter, and two children, leaving behind the dangers of big city living. An independent, assertive, intelligent, and creative woman, Joanna epitomizes the newly liberated women of the nineteen seventies. Looking for like souls with whom to become friends, she seeks out some of the other married women of the town, only to find that they are all uniformly addicted to housework, give their husbands complete obeisance, are made up to the gills, and have figures courtesy of maidenform.
Joanna manages to find several like-minded women such as her. Yet, when they, too, become addicted to housework after having a romantic weekend alone with their respective husbands, Joanna becomes convinced that the town's Men's Association has hatched a nefarious plot to change all the wives of Stepford into submissive Barbie dolls. Will Joanna manage to escape the fate of the rest of the Stepford wives? Read the book and find out. You will not be disappointed.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wesley Sager on June 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to say that I judged this book by its cover, I was at a bookstore and the cover with the lovely Nicole Kidman caught my eye in a nice in store display for the book. At first I though, oh don't buy it, you'll never read it. Well I found a nice little place to sit and read the first page or so and thought that just maybe I might. Well as soon as I got home I dove right in to this little jem and before I knew it I was on chapter two (chapter 1 is around 90-100 pages). Don't worry, there are a lot of breaks like those three little stars and gaps between paragraphs that provide a good stopping place if you need it.

The plot is simple Joanna Eberhart and her husband Walter move from the city (New York is implied) to the town of Stepford, Connecticut, a seemingly utopia. However Joanna becomes restless, the only club in town is a mens only club and all the housewives seem to only want to work around the house. She soon meets a woman named Bobbie Markowe who becomes very close to Joanna and a while later they both meet Charmaine Wimperis a woman who love to play tennis. They meet often and talk about the other wives of Stepford and how 'perfect' they are. Then Charmaine and her husband have a second honeymoon one weekend and when Charmaine returns she has shockingly become like the other Stepford wives, she even turns her beloved tennis court into some sort of golf course. So Joanna and Bobbie begin to look at what could possibly be making these women act like this, they get a big shock when at one point Joanna finds and shares a newspaper clipping that showed that at one point Stepford had a womens club and she later discovers that it seems like every woman in town was at one point the president of this club.
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