Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin is a classic horror novel made even more popular by the iconic film released in 1968. Rosemary's Baby was the top-selling horror novel of the decade. The story's reach was and continues to be huge. To this day, I have even heard people describing not-so-well-behaved children as Rosemary’s baby, or a select vocabulary of other profanities I will not mention here.
What I loved:
-The concept of a demonic baby (what’s more horrifying than that?)
-The originality of the plot
-Rosemary’s best friend/fatherly figure, Hutch
-The descriptions of the apartment
-That ending though!
What didn’t work for me:
-Lots and lots of setup (just bring on the horror already! The first half of the story is mostly a long apartment search. This isn't HGTV.)
-Rosemary (I found her a tad annoying and a little naive.)
Overall, I gave this book 3, maybe 2.5, stars out of 5. Why? I’m not quite sure. Looking at my list above makes it even more head-scratching. What I can say, for me, this wasn’t a page-turner. Although I might describe it as a slow burn. This was a book I kept reading simply because of its reputation in the horror genre.
So, why am I recommending it to you? Normally, I only highlight stories that titillate my black heart. However, despite my hang-ups, I think Rosemary’s Baby is a novel that everyone (or at least everyone who enjoys horror) should read at some point, kind of like Shakespeare's Hamlet. I thoroughly enjoyed certain scenes in this book and adored the hectic, scary, not-so-happy-ending. Although it wasn’t a gripping thriller for me, that does not mean it won’t be for you. Believe me, I am actually in the minority here. Most of the book worms I know ABSOLUTELY LOVE this book and would slap me in the face for saying otherwise.
Scary or Nay?
It's scary in the holy crap I can't believe what dumb luck this woman has by moving next door to a Satanic cult kind of way. Other than that, this book is low on gore and scares. I'd recommend it for readers new to the genre.
Despite my not so stellar review, I plan on redeeming myself with this fun tidbit I learned after reading the book. In the novel, Rosemary’s neighbor, Roman Castevet, prepares a cocktail he calls a Vodka Blush, which from the description sounded delicious. I may be one of the few people in the world who decides to prepare a cocktail based on a suggestion from a fictional character—but I did. After researching this “Vodka Blush” I discovered the drink only exists because of Rosemary’s Baby. Like how cool is that? Ira Levin brought a fictional cocktail to life. So, without further ado, I give you this super simple cocktail recipe. For a shout out to the book, make sure you include a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Yields: 1 serving
What You Need:
- 2 ½ ounces vodka
- ¾ ounces lime juice
- 1 ounce pomegranate juice or a dash of grenadine
- sprig of rosemary for garnish (optional)
What You Do:
1. Fill a shaker with ice. Add vodka, lime juice, and pomegranate juice.
2. Shake vigorously for twenty seconds.
3. Strain into a martini glass or champagne flute. Garnish with rosemary if desired and serve immediately.