Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
"April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy." (synopsis from GoodReads.com)
I always search the book section of thrift stores, when collecting things for my Etsy and Ebay listings, and when I spotted Revolutionary Road I was reminded that I enjoyed the movie, so I picked it up. I like to idealise things and that is what I did when thinking I would enjoy this book. I forgot that the one of the main characters, April, disgusted me. I remembered that the movie was based in one of my favorite times in history, 1950s. I remembered that it dealt with a young actress turned housewife and thought I might identify with April ( I studied and worked as an actress and am now a housewife)....but I forgot she is NOTHING like me. She is a sad SAD S A D woman. A shell of a human who feels sorry for herself and went into a marriage and became a mother when she had no business doing so. I hate that one of my favorite actresses played her in the movie because it is hard to remember I did not like her...funny since I seem to have such a strong opinion of April....but Kate Winslet is such a good and attractive actress. Maybe I am being hard on April because she is obviously depressed and emotionally sick. But it is easier to just not like her and since reading is supposed to be something I do to relax, it should be easy. However this book is not easy, it is a very "thinking" book (you know a book that makes you THINK even after you are long done with it).
So maybe Frank is not such a good guy...he is pompous and a bit self involved....but he did not do, what I consider, a terrible thing in the end....so he gets away with being an arrogant 1950's man (sometimes brute). And besides Leonardo DiCaprio plays him in the movies and I loves me some Leo. I am not excusing this character but .... well it is what it is in my mind. ~shrug~
Besides the drama of the book, it is set in the 1950s. Frank and April live in a typical suburban neighborhood, Frank commutes to New York for his job. Frank is an up and comer despite he is bored with his job and life...and really does nothing at work. He does enough in the "eleventh hour" to get noticed. Frank takes long Martini lunches and has an affair with a secretary. The Wheelers have cocktails with other suburban couples and try to be involved with their community and cultural events. April tried to make an effort and dresses in pretty dresses and frilly aprons at times. The movie is pretty on the surface and the book describes a nice "scene"....but that is only surface. Richard Yates paints a nice picture....and then we get into trouble because we might not expect such ugliness in his characters.
So....if you would like to read this book, even after all this...just leave a comment and I will draw a name.