For many popular books, there seems to be a reason why much of society likes them. For instance, John Grishams books about Yuppie, good-looking, intelligent people winning out over government and big business, se
em to sell well because of our, the citizens of the United States of America, distaste of the 80s' fad reaganomics. Sure, that makes sense. Another example would be the popularity of Tom Clancy's books about CIA agents and some politicians who actually
have the best interests of the country at heart and want to do good in the eyes of truth and justice. Since we usually don't see this in real life, these books sell well because at least we can pretend. Sure, that makes sense. Most books seem to sell w
ell for a reason. Something occuring in our society seems to make us draw to certain types of literature, well maybe fiction is a better word. I have not been able to figure out what could hav been occuring in the 1960's that would have drawn enough peo
ple to Ira Levin's "Rosemary's Baby" to make it appear on the 1967's bestseller list. But I have some up with some other reasons why it's so popular that have nothing to do with what was going on in our culture. First, it's a good book. It's i
mpossible to put down once you have opened it. Second, it involves an innocent woman having the devil's child, which for some reason is really interesting to many people. Third, there was an oscar-winning movie version made one year after "Rosemary's B
aby" was published, and I know many people who like reading a book after seeing the film version. I also know many people who like seeing a moview after having already read the book. Fourth, Ira Levin is known for his writing. Therefore, many people, like
me, would read this book because of other books he has written. the last reason I can think of as to why "Rosemary's Baby" is still poplular is becasue a sequel, titled "Son of Rosemary" was released in 1997. Hence, people are now thinking about, and
reading or re-reading the original. All of these points illustrate why "Rosemary's Baby" was popular in 1967, when it was published, and why it is still popular, or at least not un-familiar sounding to many people, thirty-one years later.
"Rosemary's Baby" is a good book. The reviews Ira Levin recieved just agter "Rosemary's Baby" was published were positive. While some held the opinion that the ending was weaker than the rest of the story, most agread that the plot was interesting, ful
l of suspense, and that the character development was strong and believable. Years later reaction to "Rosemary's Baby" still seems positive. Some comments from readers who voiced their opinions of "Rosemary's Baby" at a website from Amazon.com include:
"This book is truly one that is nearly impossible to put down" "One of the best books ever made!" "I think excellent is the word I'm looking for" "The plot of Rosemary's Baby was the most entertaining and the suspensful I have ever read" I personall
y would have to agree with on respondant from Los Angelas who wrote: "Everything, description, dialoque, characters, setting, and most of all plot, mesh seamlessly in one of the great reads of all time" All of these remarks are from the last two years, w
hich shows that thirty-one years after its publication, readers are still enjoying "Rosemary's Baby".
Another reason "Rosemary's Baby" has remained popular is because of its plot content. A non-practicing catholic is impregnated by the devil to produce satan's son. This story, while maybe not as familiar in 1967, has proved itself to be worthy of intere
st because it's been repeated in other stories. For example, in Dean Koontz's "Servants of Twilight", a woman, a non-practicing catholic, begins to see signs that her child may be the result of an affair she had with a man who acted suspiciously like th
e devil. This is a story with many twists that separate it from "Rosemary's Baby", but none-the-less still uses the concept of the devil's child. Another example would be "The Devil's Advocate", a film released in 1997 starring Al Pacino and Keanu Ree
ves. In this story, a grown man begins to question the mortality of his boss, when he learns that his boss is not only the devil himself, but also his father. As "Rosemary's Baby" ends with the reader pondering whether or not Andy will grow up to be evi
l to the human race, both of these stories also raise the question as to if the Devil's child must be evil or not. I'm not sure why this topic is of such interest to so many people, but it is engrossing.
Yet another reason "Rosemary's Baby" became popular was the 1968 oscar-winning movie by the same name that is almost identicle in dialogue to the book. As one fan wrote: "It is the best adaption of book to film ever done. The reason for this sis simple:
It IS the book." The movie, which starred Mia Farrow as Rosemary and John Cassavettes as Guy, was directed by Roman Polanski. The movie is described as an engrossing, creepy classic by one website reviewer. While "Rosemary's Baby" hit the bestseller li
st in 1967, and the movie didn't come out until 1968, I think the film still helped keep the story popular. In the ten years after publication, "Rosemary's Baby" sold over five million copies in paperback alone. Part of this initial lasting popularity
was probably because of the attention the film had provided.
Part of the initial popularity of "Rosemary's Baby" could have also come from Ira Levin's reputation as a good thriller writer. Although "Rosemary's Baby" was one of Levin's earliest books, his first novel, "A Kiss Before Dying" had won him an Edgar
Allen Poe Award, and had also been made into a successfu movie in 1956. As Levin wrote more novels and plays, his name became more familiar and esteemed. Some opinions of Levin include: "Levin is truly a literary genius" "I'd always put Ira Levin up the
re with Shirley Jackson as one of the few 'classic' horror writers--literate, subtle, frightening without resorting to bloodfests" "That Levin is a sly devil" Because of his success in other books, many people of a younger generation will read "Rosema
ry's Baby" because they have heard of him or have read one of his more recent works. This is not a rare occurance. Most people will agree that not all of Stephen King's books have been equally wonderful, and yet they all seem to sell. WHile a book will
not remain popular if it is not really good, but the author has been great in the past, it will recieve some initial popularity just from association.
Finally, probably the important reason that "Rosemary's Baby" is still popular today, maybe even more so than five years ago, is because of the sequel, "Son of Rosemary" which Ira Levin recently published in 1997. After thirty-one years Levin finally dec
ided to let his readers learn just what did happen to Rosemary, Guy, and especially little Andy. Along with the release of "Son of Rosemary", came a reprinting of the original in a paperback edition. While most reviewers and readers alike were disappoint
ed and down right upset by "Son of Rosemary", it did cause a new wave of readers to explore "Rosemary's Baby". Reactions to "Son of Rosemary" are in a large way a compliment, because the majority of people who didn't enjoy "Son of Rosemary", disliked it
even more because it wasn't as good as "Rosemary's Baby". For example, one angry reader remarked: "I loved reading Rosemary's Baby- it was a good-suspenseful page-turner! Son of Rosemary, however, was a page-turner simply because I wanted to see if it
would get any better. It didn't. Ira, Ira, Ira- whatever possessed you to dash off this piece of drivel?" Another said: "The denouncement was not only a cheat, it was a slap in the face to Levin's fans. I would not recommend this novel to anyone wh
o has read Rosemary's Baby and loved it; don't sully your beautiful memory." The obvious compliment here is that readers never would have reacted to negatively to "Son of Rosemary" if they had not absolutely adored "Rosemary's Baby". Of course, I cert
ainly hope that Levin's next book is a great improvement if he doesn't want to completely lose his faithful followers who at least finished "Son of Rosemary" out of faith that it would get better.
In conclusion, masses of readers weren't drawn to "Rosemary's Baby" out of a reaction to something in society or to fill a void they felt within themselves. People read "Rosemary's Baby" because it was a good book. Readers either picked it up because o
f Levin's reputation, because of the good reviews it recieved, because they wanted to read the sequel or already had, because they had read other works by Levin, because they saw the film, or because they are very interested in the Devil fahtering a chil
d to a non-practicing catholic. Whatever the reason readers picked it up, the reality is that once they started it, they finished it. Because "Rosemary's Baby" is a great thriller that doesn't let you go until the last page; and even then it's still o
n your mind.