Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Wow, this book is depressing. Remind me to never live in the suburbs. Honestly, though, I don’t understand why people rave so much about this book. Unless of course, they’re all masochists. I don’t often want to actually get rid of a book, but reading Revolutionary Road brought that feeling on me. I almost wanted to see if I could take it back to the bookstore and get my money back!
It’s set in the suburbs during the 1950’s and based around a young married couple, Alice and Frank. Man, do these people need to get a life. They basically hate their lives, hate each other, and hate themselves. A feel good story, this is not. I have nothing against the drama genre, I like to cry at a sad story or get angry alongside a passionate protagonist. But while reading this, all I wanted to do was reach through the pages and strangle the both of them. Possibly bash heads together.
The problem, I feel, was that I had no sympathy for them. If they had been somewhat likable, in whatever way, I think I could have empathized more, or at all. Yes, they’d both had some hardships in their lives, but I would love to be where they were at! Owning a home! A car! Three beautiful children. A good office job. Holy crap, if I could just have the house or the job, I’d be happy. They were so consumed with their own personal issues, with the world at large and with each other, that they never actually show any redeeming or even marginalizing qualities.
I barely slogged through this book, and I knew it was going to be a rough ride when in the first few pages, Frank and Alice end up in a senseless screaming fight on the side of the road. They then proceed to drive home. She ends up sleeping on the sofa, angry, and he ends up drinking himself to sleep in their room, feeling completely put-upon. This sets the tone for the entire story.
I could basically care less what happens to these jerks and their moronic, flaky friends. The only people I felt sorry for, were their kids. I’d hate to have grown up in household with those two. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I think I’ll wait for the video at the library. I’m already out fifteen bucks for the trade paperback book, the only size they had available. If you feel the need to similarly torture yourself trying to read this, go to the library. Also, don’t move to the suburbs. Yikes.
The best part of it all? When I went to my book club discussion, all we could talk about was how much we didn’t like it.