Monday, March 14, 2011

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary RoadRevolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved this book for the writing, as it was skillful, beautiful and intriguing. I didn't, however, love the book itself. I did enjoy it, but don't share the sentiments of it's "ironic beauty" and "straightforward poignancy" quoted by critics and friends alike.

I imagine the subject matter was quite controversial considering the time of it's publication, and can potentially see myself having a different take were I from a different time, or in a different time. Now though, I can respect it, but don't feel an attachment to it. The most difficult part for me was it's anti-thesis of much of what I believe in. We are in charge of our own happiness. Life isn't about what you do, it's how you do it. The Golden Rule(my vision of this: give what you take, take only what you give, don't owe or allow yourself to be owed). The Wheeler's were against all of the above. They wallowed and only half-heartedly did anything remotely realistic to make their own happiness. They worried more about what they did than living a good life and doing it well and happily. They looked as others as though they were beneath them, and put their children anything but first.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike them. They were human, and a beautiful part of this book is that the writing and presentation is exactly that: beautiful, human, flawed. The problem for me is actually that I didn't dislike them, because I never could find it in myself to like them either. With no feeling of like or dislike for them, I found it hard to care too much about what happened to them. I feel like the ending should have had me either in tears of sorrow, or saying "see? That's what you get. Shoulda listened to your karma a bit". But I felt neither.

I definitely recommend this book for wonderful composition and bravery in subject matter(if you can appreciate this from the perspective of the setting and time it was published), but probably won't hold a place in the heart of my bookshelf....

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  1. Hi, Leah! I haven't read this book, but I agree 100% with this sentiment: "give what you take, take only what you give, don't owe or allow yourself to be owed." Very thoughtful and fair review. Thanks! :D

  2. Thanks Sam! I guess we all get to have a thoughtful moment once in a great while ;o)