Rosemary’s Baby: A Review

by jonnahzkennedy

Horror’s modern Odyssey, Ira Levin’s 1967 novel Rosemary’s Baby sets a precedent, rightly named by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote an introduction for this edition, that would fall in line for what would be come classic horror stories and “romances” alike, with Stephen King’s The Shining being the true and obvious baby of this little book and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga being a less than expected residue of it; at least it’s good to know that even bad authors, Meyer, have a decent taste in literature.

This being said, while Levin’s novel proves to be a true statement of horror within it’s last half hour in which the baby is finally born–the most exciting part that plays out as a 30 page short story with sharp contrast to the earlier episodes of the novel–it still left something of a lot to be desired. The sand in the hourglass was too much and it took nearly 200 pages before it really started to run down the clock, with Rosemary beginning to piece things together in perfect thriller fashion.

The problem that the modern reader might face with Rosemary’s Baby is the fact that, Levin’s novel has spawned so many demons over the years, it is easy to find it a bland and fairly predictable novel, of which it surely, for the most part, without the spoilage of the culture we live in today found in every B-horror movie and most recently resurrected by American Horror Story (that’s seasons 1-3, read this novel and tell me that it doesn’t create something of a trilogy connecting both plot points and ideas that Levin presents in the novel).

While it was an easy read, and if I had really stayed on track I may have gotten through it within a day or so, I’m, overall, bored with it. A classic for sure, one that knows how to build plot, suspense, and fairly decent writing, but nothing so striking as its history and the rejuvenation of a genre that it would bring on in later years. I may reread it (maybe only the last 30 pages for times sake) sometime if I really have the Guts for it (score one Palahniuk references), but right now I think I’ll simply let it aside.