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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling novel that inspired Mervyn LeRoy's classic horror film about the little girl who can get away with anything - even murder.

There's something special about eight-year-old Rhoda Penmark. With her carefully plaited hair and her sweet cotton dresses, she's the very picture of old-fashioned innocence. But when their neighborhood suffers a series of terrible accidents, her mother begins to wonder: Why do bad things seem to happen when little Rhoda is around?

Originally published in 1954, William March's final novel was an instant best seller and National Book Award finalist before it was adapted for the stage and made into a 1956 film. The Bad Seed is an indelible portrait of an evil that wears an innocent face, one which still resonates in popular culture today.

©1954 W. E. Campbell LLC; copyright renewed 1982 by W. E. Campbell LLC (P)2018 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Bad Seed

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  • Overall
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loved it

it was awesome. scariest shit a parent could go through. this story is much better than what made it to the silver screen. loved the bessie denker part of the story. wish they kept that.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good story, no to the narrator.

I’ve enjoyed the story and movie version, gave me the shivers. My only problem was in the narrator. I don’t wish to be rude but I have to state that I found the acting and voice of the narrator reading the roles of the mother, Christine, and of the daughter, Rhoda, to be annoying. Since those are the two main characters of the book I do not see myself wanting to listen to narrator’s portrayal and reading a second time.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling

The movie was gripping but altered to conform to codes of the times it which it was produced. The movie was good but the book is better. I enjoyed this audio version very much. The narrator did a wonderful job. Her voice, cadence and inflections really captured the feel of 1952. Excellent read/listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book ruined by horrible narration

I first read The Bad Seed during my second year of college in 1969. I love this book. I own the 1954 hard copy. I worked on a stage production of the play and watched all three movie versions. I thought I would enjoy listening to the Audible version. The story takes place in a small southern town in the 1950s. In the book, the atmosphere is one of quiet southern gentility, where something tragic happens to a child, followed by a growing dread that something is dreadfully wrong in the Penmark household. The narrator for the Audible version rushes through the text like the script is on fire and she has to finish reading before her hands get burnt. Listening to the Audible version is just downright irritating.

1 person found this helpful

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Definitely recommend if you're a fan of the movie

I absolutely loved this audiobook! I've always been a fan of the movie and must have watched it a thousand times. The book is similar to the movie in every way (except for more details about each character) and the ending. I enjoyed listening to the narrator.

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ENTERTAINING STORY

IT WAS HARD TO GET USED TO THEIS NARATOR BUT AFTER A WHILE I FOUND I FELT THE NARATOR WAS GOOD FOR THIS BOOK. THE STORY IS NOT A NEW ONE BUT IT IS ENJOYABLE. THEY MADE A MOVIE OF THIS BOOK.

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The worst Audible 🙄

very upset how terrible this was! the story was all over the place, boring narrator!!

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Dated

I realize this book was written decades ago and thus it feels quite dated both in its prose and it's content. While I'm sure it was considered a good thriller of it's time, it hardly compares to the twisted and dark thrillers out there today. The narration, however, was superb and truly makes the reader feel he is living in that time period.

There is a more recent book whose story is reminiscent of "The Bad Seed". The book is called "Baby Teeth" by Zoje Stage and it, too, is about a psychotic child. This is an excellent thriller which I would rate as a 5-star novel! I could not stop listening!

As for, "The Bad Seed", my advice would be not to bother. Read "Baby Teeth" instead!