I’ve made a huge mistake. Bigger than perms. Bigger than Jagermeister. Bigger than discontinuing Viennetta.
Recently I read and just finished up the sequel to “Rosemary’s Baby” – “The Son of Rosemary”.
Before I confess my sin (boo hiss), let me explain myself. Many years ago, having loved, loved, loved “Rosemary’s Baby” oh so much, I researched the author Ira Levin and was thrilled when I saw there was a sequel. However, Amazon reviews were not kind.
I’m not one to be swayed by reviews (I have my own mind, damn it!), but with most of the reviews in the one star range, I opted to keep my love for the original intact and instead read “A Kiss Before Dying”. I enjoyed it.
But back to Rosemary and her demon spawn.
I first read “Rosemary’s Baby” when I was maybe fifteen and the writing hooked me. I found it in the attic, buried in a box of my mother’s high school things.
It was like crack. Levin’s style is so clean, crisp and says so much. It draws you in. I wanted to be at the party where Rosemary ruins her mascara. I wanted to throttle her husband, Guy for not believing her stories about witches. I remember when she makes the drink with egg and sherry and to this day think I’d like to try one. Scenes linger strong in my memory. As a kid, and as a woman now, I still admire that book. I reread it every few years, and marvel at its style.
And so…all this led me to NOT reading “Son of Rosemary”.
That is, until I received the book in the mail with a note from my little sister.
Okay. So now I had the book. Curiosity made it too strong to just put it away. I couldn’t resist. I picked it up and went to my pool, deciding it could be a tawdry novel for sunbathing.
Worst. Mistake. Ever.
The writing is atrocious. I literally screeched aloud no less than ten times at classics like this:
She sat down, took a deep breath, and lifted the handset. Put it to her ear. Said, “Andy?”
“Tears are running down my face.”
Her tears welled.
Epic face palms every single sitting. The book even singed itself onto my thigh.
And yet, like your dad on his wedding night, I plowed ahead. It was too awful to put down. Like watching a fat-person-eat -cake-while-simultaneously-having-a-heart-attack awful. Plus, it’s hard for me to give up on a book. I’ve probably only done it once or twice in my life. I gotta finish those bastards off.
I expected it to be bad; but I didn’t expect it to be one of the worst books I’ve ever read. My only comfort is that I’ve never read “50 Shades of Grey”. And still won’t.
Ira Levin must have had a boner while he wrote this piece of shit because every other paragraph consists of Rosemary and her son Andy smothering each other with kisses.
Let’s review shall we?
Page 34: After the hugs and kisses, the sighs and caresses and tears and tissues…
Page 35: They sat close together, facing each other, clasping hands…
Page 45: He kissed her cheek.
Page 51: They kissed each other’s temples, kissed cheeks, the corners of their mouths – she pushed, they let each other go, turned.
Page 57: “Ah, poor baby,” he said, raining kisses on her head…
Page 166: They tramped along in their shades, gloved hands joined.
Page 193: He kissed her cheek; she kissed his, where his beard began.
I think you get the point. Seriously, open the book, stick a finger in, and you’ll land on something involving kisses and caresses. It goes on and on like this, until son tries to have his way with his mother. I think. Maybe. I read it with half-slitted eyes while gagging.
And the ending. Oh the ending. It would put the TV show “St. Elsewhere” to shame.
I’m gonna spoil it because you don’t need to read it. The first book, “Rosemary’s Baby” never happened. It was all a dream. What the fuck, Levin? You toy with my emotions for fifteen years and I read the sequel to find it’s all a dream? That’s the cheapest copout I’ve ever had.
After my initial rage settled and I finished my hate filled rant on my sister’s voicemail cursing her for ever sending me the book I began to think.
I was sad. Levin’s writing was great in 1967. The Son of Rosemary was published in 1997. So what happened in that span of time? Granted, writers can get worse. But man, he had goodness. He had something.
I guess he peaked.
A flood of questions hit me. Did the publisher just blindly toss him a deal without reading it because he sold books before? Did Levin know his writing wasn’t up to par, but desperate for a paycheck vomited some sort of shitbag of a novel? The saddest question, did Levin think his writing was good? That is was comparable to the original?
I get it. Bad writers get good writing deals. I’m not naïve. Writing is so subjective and this is my opinion, but man, when you compare what Levin had to what he ended up with, it’s Mickey Rourke staggering.
It’s my fault. I should have let the original novel live on in my head. Instead I have the sequel creeping in late at night like that dude down the street who calls himself your uncle and laughs when you back away in fear.
I blame my sister for sending me the book.
I blame myself for being hopped up on Coronas and thinking I can do tawdry.
But most of all, I blame Ira Levin. You should have just let Rosemary hail Satan in peace.