Book Review: Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates

Way back in 2008, Rich and I watched Revolutionary Road due to all the hype about Leo and Kate reuniting. 6 years later, I could only remember the final image and perhaps something about a couple at a dance. So when I saw the novel in a local charity shop, I decided it was time I read the original text and refreshed my memory.
Interestingly enough, having just read Stoner, I found this novel similar in many ways. Both feature couples marrying for the wrong reasons and living a miserable suburban life. Both have a male protagonist who throws himself into his career, eventually having an affair with a girl from work. Perhaps most strikingly, both address the theme of a wasted life- going through the motions of life and keeping up appearances rather than doing what you really want.

Revolutionary Road, in case you hadn't worked it out from the above, tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler, who live an unhappy, often violent, life of suburbia. As they attempt to make plans that fulfill a happy, content life, events predictably go awry and lead to a life together that feels more hopeless than ever.

The novel opens with April Wheeler, who once dreamed of being an actress, performing on stage for a local amateur dramatic production. This idea of being on stage is present throughout the novel. It is sectioned in three parts, much like the traditional three-act structure in playwriting, and the lives of the Wheelers are on show. From the outside, they have a perfect life but they are merely playing characters in a fictitious account of their marriage. Behind the scenes, if you will, is where the misery plays out.

The Wheelers' marriage, and the seemingly comfortable lives of their neighbours, is the aspirational life for many: A pleasant home in a nice neighbourhood, a stable job, two well-behaved children. Revolutionary Road teaches us that this is not necessarily the ideal. We are all remarkably close to becoming another Wheeler: Don't let yourself fall into the trap that is comfortable suburbia. It's all an act. 

Buy Revolutionary Road here

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1 comment :

  1. I love this book so much. One I would definitely re-read if my "Books I've Never Read But MUST" pile wasn't so big!


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