Reading Challenges

Canadian Books 7
July - June 2014



Comments for The Stepford Wives

The Stepford WivesThe Stepford Wives: 12/03/06

Ira Levin's Stepford Wives, a story that has inspired two films and entered the lexicon is little more than a long novella. It comes in around 30,000 words and therefore wouldn't even qualify for a winning Nanowrimo entry. It's the sort of thriller where no words are wasted; the narrative is more like a transcript of someone telling a story than a well crafted narration. It can be read in about ninety minutes and even with knowing the punchline (or being able to figure it out) it is still a very satisfying read.

I love Levin's books. They are in my "go-to" pile when I need something both creepy and humorous at the same time. My husband says the book doesn't seem plausible (probably because he's so much like the geeks who turn against their wives). His main complaint is: "If they had the sex bots at the club, doesn't it seem superfluous to off their wives at home?" But that's part of the book's cheesy charm. Only one family per month ever moves into Stepford, so clearly the men are being recruited. They want to replace their wives long before they come to Stepford.

The edition I read ends with a short essay by Peter Straub who analyzes the book's origins against the time when it was written when Betty Friedan's The Feminist Mystique was nine years old and probably owned by most twenty to thirty-something women and the equal rights amendment had passed congress only to be stalled in the state ratification process (though its looking like it might now be poised to pass). Was Levin writing a social satire akin to Swift's A Modest Proposal or was he writing a parody of the NOW movement? Yes. I think that the news of the day (the opening of Disney World, ERA, the closing of the space race, etc) came together to inspire a story that was fun to write and now fun to read. That it inspires discussion: all the better.

Gratitude:

On Livejournal, some of my friends are posting daily gratitude entries. I thought it would be a good thing to do as well. The idea is to post one a day for December. As today is the third, I will post three today to get started.

#1: Ian: I am grateful for Ian. He made the first move way back in 1991 by starting up a conversation with me, literally shouting a question to me over the crowd milling around the stairs during orientation. I'm glad he made the effort and stuck with me.

#2: Sean: I'm overjoyed that he came into our lives especially after the two miscarriages when I was able to truly appreciate him and not take him for granted like I might have done if I'd never suffered through a miscarriage. I'm also glad the he has the gung-ho personality to jump right into things and drag me along (I need this sort of prodding sometimes). I glad he has his father's sense of humor.

#3: Harriet: I'm happy she bounced into our lives. Where we worked to conceived Sean, she just sort of happened. That's not to say she's an easy child. She has a much backbone as her brother. I'm also happy for her brown eyes. I thought I might be the last in my family to have brown eyes. I love her smiles and the her giggles.

That's it for today. It's probably enough schmaltz too.

 

Steps: 3500

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