This book review is long overdue. I, being raised in an incredibly Christian environment, was obviously never allowed to read or watch Rosemary’s Baby until I was well out of the sheltered roof of my parents. I first saw Rosemary’s Baby, the incredible 1968 movie starring Mia Farrow, on netflix two years ago. Since then, I’ve watched it at least a hundred times, bought my own copy of the DVD and have now read the book through twice, since my eager purchase of it when I found it in a local used book store.
Anyway, on to the actual review. I adore this book. It is, in my opinion, far superior to the movie. The movie pretty much copies the book word for word, especially in the dialogue, but won’t we don’t really get in the movie, despite Mia Farrow’s ridiculously amazing acting, is Rosemary’s thoughts, which play a pretty big role in the book. In the movie, you don’t really know that Rosemary GENUINELY likes Minnie and that Sapirstien is actually much more caring and kind to Rosemary than he is portrayed. And in the book, Rosemary doesn’t suspect a single thing is suspicious with Minnie and Roman and Guy until like the last two or three chapters. Which makes her realization of the betrayal even more jarring than the movie.
All those comparisons aside though, the movie does a really good job of getting the important parts of the book correct. It is set in 1966, in New York City, and the story revolves around the housewife of a struggling actor who gets pregnant under…questionable circumstances, unbeknownst to her. The book is extremely well written, Ira Levin is known for his prose, and he certainly does not disappoint in Rosemary’s Baby. The characters are all very developed and you grow very attached to the main character, Rosemary. I have no complaints about this book, and can without a doubt say it is one of my favorites. My only real qualm might be that it portrays Satanists as being kind of awful and lets-put-people-in-a-coma-and-kill-them-to-get-them-out-of-our-way and very hey-we-just-met-this-chick-lets-set-her-up-to-be-raped-and-bear-satans-child, whereas, in real life, satanists (which are NOT synonymous to witches, by the way) are a lot more chill and a lot of them are actually like environmentalists and very accepting and nice in general. (I know this because I have a few friends who are Satanist and honestly I’ve never met nicer people).
Overall, it gets a solid 5/5 from me. It’s an easy read, not too long and not at all dry, while also being fairly fast paced for being one of the more ‘slow’ horror books (since people aren’t being butchered, it more or less follows the life of a pregnant housewife). If you are a horror fan and haven’t already, you should definitely give this a read.