Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

Joanna Eberhart moves to Stepford with her husband and two kids. Leaving the city, they look forward to bonding and growing as a closer-knit family in the slower-paced suburbs. They settle in quite nicely. Joanna makes new friends and dives into her love of photography. Walter commutes to the city to work, but joins Stepfords' Men's Association, where he spends the majority of his nights. The neighbors are friendly, but sadly outdated. The women are very tedious about their housework and always look gorgeous; perfect figure with large boobs and hair doused in hairspray. They look forward to cooking and tending to their husbands, leaving no time for hobbies or interests of their own. Joanna starts to become suspicious when her closest friend succumbs to the Stepford lifestyle, a woman who was quite anti-Stepford beforehand.

I first fell in love with Ira Levin's writing when I read Rosemary's Baby a few years back. The Stepford Wives only makes me love Levin even more. This anti-Utopian novel is fun to read, yet eerily possible. Admittedly, I first watched the movie when it came out in 2004 (with Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick), and was terribly disappointed. Thankfully, the novel is nothing like the movie. I should have known better, so shame on me. If you are looking for a quick read that is easy to get lost in, I would highly recommend The Stepford Wives.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I chose Oryx and Crake for my first Atwood novel based on a friends recommendation. I have to say, I was not in the least bit disappointed. If Atwood writes every novel with this much originality, creativity, and intrigue, then I am forever hooked. Oryx and Crake is set in the future and is told by the character Jimmy, who also goes by Snowman. Snowman is the present and Jimmy, the past. The reader is thrown into a civilization that has been demolished and re-created. The story is narrated by Snowman, who explains the chain of events that lead to this new civilization by retelling his childhood bit by bit. The reader is along for the ride as Snowman retells his entire life, up to present day.

Admittedly, it is slow to begin. However, the more I read about Snowman/Jimmy's past, the more difficult it was to set this novel down. Atwood certainly did her research. The future she paints is very believable, and quite frightening. The story ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger. I am almost certain that Atwood does this for a reason. However, it does leave the possibility for a sequel. Oryx and Crake was a remarkable read, and I definitely would read it again.