It’s a bit odd that it took me this long to read The Stepford Wives. I have a huge soft spot for the 1975 movie and I’m the type of girl who loves a good Stepford reference or joke (sadly, most of these go over my coworkers heads).

But I never seemed to get around to the book.

Until Monday.

And I was blown away. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Yes, I knew (vaguely) what would happen, but the ending in the book is just so sad and desperate. So much more powerful than the movie ending. So much creepier.

It’s also got some wonderful “telling” passages which Levin uses to mark off the amount of time Joanna has been in Stepford.

The dishwasher broke down, and the pump; and Pete’s eighth birthday came, calling for presents, a party, favors, a cake. Kim got a sore throat and was home for three days. Joanna’s period was late but came, thank God and the pill.

She made autumn-leaf collages with Pete and Kim, and helped Walter put up the storm windows, and met him in the city for a partners-and-wives dinner–the usual false-friendly clothes-appraising bore. A check came from the agency: two hundred dollars for four uses of her best picture.

Which I’m pointing out because they work so well and keep the pace moving so quickly that they are a great example of how telling sometimes really is the right choice.

What do you mean Stepford Wives isn’t an ideal subject for a Valentine’s Day entry?

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