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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Revolutionary Road

Still on vacation. I am having a blast, of course, but I will not leave you without your reading nourishment. Enjoy, and read on!

I have about five all-time-favorite books, and Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road is one of them.

Frank and April Wheeler appear to have the perfect life--a house in the suburbs, solid employment, and a happy family. It only looks perfect, though. Their life is far from it. Resentment bubbles under the surface and lingers for years growing more and more rank as the days go by. Only when they decide to make a major life change do things start to look up. Only one of them is not entirely on board.

Of course I loved the Sam Mendes' movie, but Yates has a way of breaking your heart with his words. It's incredible. Goodreads uses the term "remorseless clarity" to describe Yates' writing in the book description and I couldn't agree more. Yates writes like the smoothest sailboat ride you could imagine on the most gloriously sunny day of the year. Only suddenly your boat capsizes out from under you. When I read his writing it's like the wind in my hair, staring off into the glorious ripple of the endless water ahead of me, suspecting absolutely nothing. It's absolutely stunning. He reels me in and dashes my hopes all in one fell swoop.

I am madly in love with April Wheeler as a character. I am so drawn to her flawed optimism and caring disdain. I want to be her, only I obviously don't. I guess what I really want to do is save her. I want to change the course of her life. I want to go back to the beginning of the story and stop her and Frank every time they go to make a decision that leads to the ultimate ending. If only, if only...

I am not big into re-reading books or re-watching movies and plays. This book, however, is one of the few that I will always keep on my shelf and that I will pick up again and again. I love these characters so fiercely and I gobble Yates's words and sentences like a starved marathon runner desperate for fuel.

(Now I really want to re-read this. Laura, can I get my copy back?)

You should get this for your library. Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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