Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin [Review]

Rosemary’s Baby

Ira Levin 

Book Review

Rosemary’s baby was published in 1967 and was one of the first contemporary horror novels to become a best seller. The story follows Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse as they move into a new apartment in Bramford. The building has a sinister reputation but all seems well to begin with. Their neighbours, Roman and Minnie, seem overly friendly but safe enough until Rosemary falls pregnant. Their slightly possessive neighbours begin to take an extra special interest in her, which leads to creepy and unexpected twists and turns.

This is real page turning novel! I read in one sitting on a rainy afternoon (perfect setting for a horror novel!). At first, the book lulled me into a false sense of security, with only a few hints of some sinister undertones. But as I plunged through the book things began to get more and more creepy and twisted. The atmosphere is beautifully built up and, as the reader, you start to figure some things out before Rosemary does; which left me willing her to “open her eyes”!

There is a real edge of eeriness as the story develops, although it is quite subtle for the first third of the book. There were a couple of scenes that I found particularly disturbing (rape is never pleasant – even in fiction) and the satanic rituals left me with goosebumps! Mostly, I had a sense of dread while reading, I knew it could only get worse; although some of the normality between Rosemary and Guy definitely kept trying to get me to put my guard down!

The main focus on this book was on the storyline, rather than the characters; although they all felt pretty realistic to me. There were a few people “coming in” and “going out” where needed which almost lets you forget who they are in the first place! Rosemary was a fine narrating character – if a little naive. It could be argued that she willingly had little independence  and relied on her husband – but this book was written in a time when being a “housewife” was perfectly common and acceptable for women to do! The thing I did particularly like through the book, was the clarity of who was a little bit more than who they seemed! Well written clues as to who Rosemary should not trust; with one little surprise exception to that rule!

The only thing I really didn’t enjoy in the book was the ending, it felt very abrupt and I did not understand Rosemary’s reaction to certain events! I’ve never seen such a sudden turn around in a character!


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