Sunday, January 18, 2009
Revolutionary Road :: Richard Yates
I wrapped up Revolutionary Road this morning. It's a little numbing. I enjoyed the book but the subject could hit close to home for any middle class American who lets occasional doubt slip in. The story follows a "regular joe" 1950's couple going through the motions of enjoying suburbia when in truth they are deeply unsatisfied with the bland, sameness of it all. The constant thread is "how did I get here?" In my opinion, it's kind of like wondering when you will begin to feel like a grown-up and realizing, this is it. Wow. anti-climactic kind of.
The book read like Death of a Salesman to me - lots of delusion, lots of internal "pep-talks" - but overall I enjoyed the book. Beware, it is not a feel good book - so if you are tired of your job or your relationships, save this one. I confess, I wasn't going to bed early to get to this book. I might have even dreaded the depressing tone of it a bit - but I was curious - I wanted to know where the story was headed, what was going to come of them.
Frank and April Wheeler, the main characters really try to make a worthy go of having a family and owning the house with the picket fence - but they are so inately distracted by their disatisfaction...so self-important. I kind of wanted to pull them off the page and shake their shoulders a bit. The ending was potent for me - a bit surprising, but perhaps the only "good" (if not entirely selfish) answer to this mess. You would expect nothing less of these two. I was left wondering what happens next. Their children will be in therapy, at least.
I admit - I imagined Frank and April to be Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio - it was too easy with the film right around the corner. I can't wait to see it - I will have to see it at the Sundance where I can have a drink in the theater. I can pretend I am one of the Wheeler's friends, coming in for a cocktail, nodding like a bobble head about the wonder of it all.
Read it, or maybe you have, let me know what you think.