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Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

>> Thursday, September 18, 2008

Genre: Fiction/Horror
Publication Date: 1967
Pages: 245
A-Z Reading #42 (L Author)

I had forgotten this book even existed until I saw
Sharon’s review during last year’s RIP challenge. I’d read another Levin book (The Boys from Brazil) many years ago. It was seriously creepy. I’d also seen the 1975 movie of The Stepford Wives, but somehow had missed out on Rosemary’s Baby (both the book and the movie). Even though I opted to skip this year’s RIP challenge, this book worked out well for the A-Z challenge.

I used to read a lot of horror and supernatural type books, but I tend to pass up that genre now. It was interesting to read what is considered a bit of a classic.

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse are a young couple who finally get their dream apartment in the old Victorian Bramford Building. Despite a friend’s stories of the building being the site of mysterious happenings, the young couple is thrilled to move in. Guy is a sometimes employed actor and Rosemary is looking forward to decorating their apartment and starting a family.

Soon they meet the elderly neighbors and before long Rosemary and Guy are drawn into a circle of older people who become very involved in their lives. Unsettling things start happening. Rosemary has vivid dreams and one particularly disturbing nightmare is a major turning point in the book.

Although happy to have her husband’s career on a successful turn and thrilled to be pregnant with their first child, Rosemary is soon suspicious of nearly everything that is happening to and around her.

This is a quick read and I managed to finish it in just a couple of sittings which is good because the tension in it builds gradually through a series of seemingly innocuous events that added together have the reader as suspicious as Rosemary.

After 40 years, the book is only slightly dated and the story and the building suspense are well done. Disturbing, but well done.


Carrie K 9/18/2008 1:49 PM  

I originally read this when I was 9 (there was nothing to read at my grandfather's house but this! nothing! Which is wrong on all kinds of levels). I re-read it in my 30's and actually, I hadn't missed much. It's pretty timelessly creepy.

Jena 9/18/2008 6:42 PM  

I read this one a few years after seeing the movie, and I think the screenplay was taken directly from the book--I only noticed one or two tiny differences. I didn't even bother reading The Boys from Brazil because I figured it'd be the same deal.

Jan,  9/19/2008 9:52 AM  

Suzi, go rent the movie now! It was filmed in NYC at the famed Dakota, the same building where John Lennon lived and was shot. Gothic style. I saw it recently on a trip to NYC (street side of course, no one is allowed inside) and it is very impressive. Lots of big names still live here.

Les 9/19/2008 3:41 PM  

I don't think I can read this one! I remember stumbling on the movie one night while babysitting (I must've been around 12) and it scared me to death!!!! I vaguely remember a scene of a woman walking outside, down a driveway, maybe in the rain, with the sound of baby crying in the background. Creeeeeeeeeeepy!

Vickie 9/20/2008 7:18 AM  

I'm tellin' ya, anything filmed or written about the Prince of Darkness will always win hands down in the creepy awards.

kalea_kane 9/21/2008 12:18 AM  

I recalled seeing the movie at a very tender age. Totally scared me to pieces! I found the book in a used books store when I moved to Maine during my gypsy period. I bought it along with The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz. Both horrifying books and movies. :)

samantha.1020 9/21/2008 8:01 AM  

Wow! Sounds like one I should add to my TBR list. Interesting review :)

Kristina 9/22/2008 6:14 PM  

Hmmm I might have to find this! I've actually never seen the movie so it might do me good to read it first anyway. Great review thanks!

Framed 9/22/2008 9:04 PM  

I've always avoided the movie and I'll probably avoid the book as well. I've read some pretty creepy books but, for some reason, this one is daunting to me. I'm such a baby.

SuziQoregon 9/23/2008 2:02 PM  

Carrie: Oh my goodness - 9 is pretty young for this one.

Jena: I've heard that the movie really follows the book closely. I may watch it sometime, but probably not soon since I just read the book.

Jan: Interesting - the Dakota is even mentioned in the book.

Les: it's definitely creepy. Not something I'd want to read when I was going to be home alone all night. Every odd sound would creep me out,

Vickie: Have you read this one?

Kalea: I'm kind of glad I managed to miss the movie when I was younger.

Kristina: Apparently the movie is very close to the book - so I'd say read the book first so you don't have the movie actors playing the roles in your head.

Framed: nothing wrong with avoiding the creepy stuff. I don't read nearly as much of the horror stuff as I used to.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

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