By Richard Yates
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307454621, November 2008, 368pp.)
“I’m only interested in stories that are about the crushing of the human heart.”
― Richard Yates
The Short of It:
An intimate glimpse of a marriage in ruin.
The Rest of It:
Sounds appealing, doesn’t? I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I ate it up and although far from being a happy tale, it was satisfying in ways that I may have trouble describing here.
Although it was originally published in 1961, this story has timeless elements that appealed to me. Frank and April Wheeler are young and in love. Caught-up with one another and their mutual quest to live the American dream, they marry and buy a house on Revolutionary Road. Not just any house. A perfect house in the middle of suburban splendor. The story alternates between the present and the past and it becomes apparent to the reader very early on, that the marriage is falling apart. As Yates takes us through their years together, we begin to see the decline that they see, but choose to ignore until it’s too late.
The writing blew me away. It was poetic without going over your head and Yates somehow manages to deliver characters that you can’t stand, yet can ultimately relate to. I did not like these people. They were selfish and blind to what was in front of them, and they were miserable and suffering (often from their own doing) yet… there was something about them that I loved. It was if I knew these people personally.
Every time I opened the book, I was like a voyeur, pushing the curtains aside to get a peek at this disastrous couple. It felt wrong, but it also felt so right. It was tragic and honest and unflinchingly real. I absolutely loved it.
I know there is a movie tie-in, as evidenced by the cover photo, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. Have you?
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