Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

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Want to know if Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin is worth the read? Here is my book review to help you decide.

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Rosemary’s Baby Book Info

Author: Ira Levin

Published: 1 January 1967 (Edition read: 1 January 2011)

Publisher: Corsair

Pages: 229

Rating: 5/5

Where to buy Rosemary’s baby

Amazon | Kinokuniya | Blackwell’s | Waterstones | Wordery | Better World Books

Rosemary’s Baby Book Summary

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin is a horror novel about a young couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, who recently moved into an apartment called The Bramford in New York City.

Moving into The Bramford they are warmly welcomed by the eccentric tenants of the apartment building, especially by their elderly neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet.

Rosemary falls pregnant soon after moving into The Bramford but her happiness is short-lived as she starts to experience frightening occurrences that make her doubt that her friendly neighbors are anything but.

Rosemary suspects that her elderly neighbors including her husband are part of a Satanic cult and that her unborn child might be in danger. Her fears are dismissed as paranoia by her husband and doctors but soon she uncovers the horrifying truth about her neighbors and unborn child.

Rosemary’s Baby Book Review

To be honest I didn’t know that Rosemary’s Baby was originally a book because I knew of Rosemary’s Baby from the classic horror movie by the infamous director Roman Polanski.

Thus, knowing it is a book I soon bought it and here we are with my book review.

First things first, the movie adaptation truly follows the book very closely so it was very easy for me to imagine how the plot played out when reading.

Book Review: Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. Part of the novel where Dr. Sapirstein warns Rosemary to not read books during her pregnancy

I really enjoyed reading Rosemary’s Baby because the horror in this book uses my favourite type of horror which is psychological horror especially when reading earlier parts of the book.

I say it uses psychological horror because put yourself in Rosemary’s shoes would you have acted any differently?

Because hindsight is 20/20 it is easy to say yes I would have stood up for myself and pushed back against my husband and my nosey new neighbours and laid down the law but we have to remember Rosemary is a young wife, married to a man who is significantly older than her and not only that, Rosemary was raised in a strict Catholic family with overbearing parents.

We cannot deny that Rosemary unfortunately is naive and innocent to the harsh realities of life. She genuinely still believes in the fairy tale happily ever after ending.

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. Guy Woodhouse saying Rosemary's haircut looks horrible and is a mistake.

And how her husband and the Castevets manipulated her was cunning and sly because at that moment who was to say that they had nefarious intentions? In Rosemary’s eyes at that moment, they were an eccentric elderly couple who was lonely and was being nice to their young new neighbours due to wanting company.

The horror in this book doesn’t come from the fact that Rosemary’s baby is a spawn of Satan. It comes from the fact that what happened to Rosemary in this book happens to women in real life all the time.

I can’t even confidently say minus the whole cult and being a mother to the spawn of Satan thing because for all I know that happens too.

It is beyond scary for me being a woman and just thinking how I can be betrayed by the one person I trust and love the most all because he was selfish and only thought of what benefited him.

Not to mention the amount of gaslighting that Rosemary went through. She couldn’t trust anybody and she is pregnant with her first child and not knowing what was normal and what was not due to her isolation.

In this book Rosemary who is an adult woman was infantilized and made to feel like her quest for knowledge regarding the changes that are happening to her own body was none of her concern.

Book review: Rosemary's baby by ira Levin. hutch warns Rosemary that the name is an anagram

Rosemary’s Baby both the movie and the book itself stands the test of time because the themes discussed in both mediums are still relevant today.

Just look at Roe v Wade. Men who have no business dictating what a woman can or cannot do with their own body is stripping women of their bodily autonomy. Is that not exactly what is happening to Rosemary?

This is why Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t need to have overt monsters or have Satan kill people left right and centre. Just the thought that a group of people is conspiring against this one helpless pregnant woman is terrifying enough.

In terms of writing, I enjoyed how Ira Levin writes in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. It gives the overall plot of the book that extra zest.

Rosemary's baby by ira Levin. Rosemary seeing her son's yellow eyes for the first time and goes into shock

The books writing and plot truly give that creepy vibe where you know something is very very wrong but you aren’t sure if Rosemary’s suspicions are true or is this some sort of pregnancy paranoia because everything in the book can be construed either way.

The death of Tracy and Hutch and that actor who was Guy’s rival could just be chalked up to happenstance and bad luck. Plus, the Castevets “kindness” could just be that, just old people caring for the young couple that just moved in.

So, up until the very end where everything is revealed, you as the reader are unsure yourself whether Rosemary is a reliable narrator.

Basically, reading Rosemary’s Baby will make you question your own sanity and question what is going on.

Not to mention that some parts of the book are completely ludicrous that you truly wonder if you are being pranked and this whole schtick is some elaborate joke.

Because let’s be real, how are we supposed to take the spawn of Satan to be a legitimate threat to the morality of humankind when his name is Andrew John. That’s like the name of your accountant not the name of a child whose father is Satan himself.

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. Part where Rosemary names her child Andrew John.

Overall, I highly recommend Rosemary’s Baby, it really is worth the read. It also helps that the book is less than 250 pages and combined with the simplicity of the language, it is most definitely a book you can finish in one sitting.

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