Primary Genre(s): Horror
Published: 12 Mar 1967 by Random House
Page count: 245 (original hardcover)
My Format: Audiobook via Hoopla Digital
Cover: Many versions, all good
Pacing: Middle was slow
Would I recommend it: Probably
Commission Link: Buy Rosemary’s Baby
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!
I’ve never read this book and I’ve never seen the movie (at least not that I recall); however, I generally know what happens in the story and how it ends. I think I have heard about this book off and on throughout my entire life. Well, it is October, so what better time of the year to finally read this classic horror novel. Here are my pros and cons for Rosemary’s Baby:
- Even though I knew the plot and the ending of the story, it was still an interesting read.
- The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Mia Farrow. Since she played Rosemary in the movie I thought she was a unique and effective narrator for the audiobook.
- The set-up to the story was effectively creepy. There plenty of weird things happening and sufficient rumors and stories floating around to make you just a tad uncomfortable. The foundation of unease was solidly built.
- I kind of enjoyed the vintage feel of the book – using brand names and mentioning things that were popular during the late 60s.
- The ending exploded the creepy factor! Wow!! How incredibly disturbing all-around. I won’t say what happened in case there is actually someone out there that doesn’t know how this book ends, but suffice it to say that a mother’s love is strong and in this case it is psychotic.
- The characters were one-dimensional. Even Rosemary – the character we were supposed to sympathize with the most – lacked depth for me. She was kind of whiny and a massive pushover. While I did hate what was happening to her, I felt like she needed to open her eyes a bit and make some better choices.
- While the book started strong and ended phenomenally, I thought the entire middle section was super boring. After such an effective setup, the story just fell off the rails a bit. I know the middle part of the story was hinting at the ultimate reveal (what was actually going on) but there wasn’t enough to keep it interesting at all. There was so much focus on Rosemary’s pregnancy that I felt like the book lost some focus.
- The other residents in the apartment building weren’t really scary at all, until suddenly they were (and even then they were still just weird old people to me). This ties in to my comment above about the middle being boring – I really felt like there was a missed opportunity to continue to build the unease throughout the middle story by slowly exposing the intent of the other residents to the reader.
Ultimately what makes this story scary is the fact that Rosemary has no control over anything that was happening to her. Everyone around her is using her for something and she is either powerless to change it or downright clueless that something nefarious is happening in the first place. The one time she takes back some of her power – at the very end of the book – is probably the one time she shouldn’t.
If this book hadn’t been so boring for me throughout the middle, I probably would have bumped it up a star.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
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