For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.
The Stepford Wives is a very short book, but still holds quite a story. It was in no way as gripping nor even as remotely scary as some sources would have me believe, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless and am glad to finally have read one of those books everybody just seems to know off. As such I won't dwell too much on the story, as it's already been worked through countless times by people far more clever than me.
I will say though that while Joanna's feelings, frustrations and being is very well written and she feels so real, the ultimate big secret of Stepford - not so much. The ending is pretty rubbish, seeing as we're never told what actually happens. My mind, being so caught up in today's technology as it is, scoffs at the notion of anybody in the 70's being able to create a robot that even vaguely resembles a human being.
After reading the book, I immediately borrowed both films and saw those too. The old one from '74 (or was it 73?) is a mess, but pretty close to the book, though where the book refuses to answer plainly what's going on, the film doesn't leave you hanging. The film from 2004 is visually pretty; it's an updated modern version and sports a proper ending although vastly different from the original. Neither really manages to showcase the Joanna from the book.
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012