Joanna – an avid and more or less successful semi-professional photographer – and her husband Walter move with their children to peaceful Stepford.
Joanna’s only friends there are tomboyish Bobbie and beautiful Charmaine, both are also freshly moved to this place with their husbands. All other wives of Stepford seem to have their only cause for living in making happy and neat homes for their husbands – and Walter spends a lot of his spare time at the men’s club.
After they stayed for four months in Stepford Charmaine and her husband spend a romantic weekend trip together – but when they come back Charmaine has completely changed – she gives up her beloved tennis and starts concentrating in being a perfect housewife.
Same thing happens to Bobbie after she lived four months in Stepford – she no longer takes pride out of her messy kitchen. No, everything is neat now in Bobbie’s house – even Bobbie herself looks like a gorgeous TV-ad-hausfrau…
And Joanna herself is almost four months in Stepford…
This is a very small novel and the tension rises very slowly – but the end is terrific!
Just to make this clear: The horror – at least for me – is that the Stepford wives don’t have a chance to choose wheter to be a devoted housewife or not - and that their men just seem to be such nice guys.
I really loved this book - and I am eager to read more by Ira Levin.
There are two adaptations for the screen of this book one of 1975 with Katharine Ross, which is much truer to the book than the version of 2004 with Nicole Kidman. Read my review of the 1975 film HERE.
THE WIVES OF STEPFORD fits into my FORGOTTEN TREASURES CHALLENGE.
Read about my progress (if I may say so - ahem.. ) here.