A Book Review: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Revolutionary Road.

Revolutionary Road was a charity shop find, and in all honesty I feel like a massive fraud for not seeking this book out beforehand, nor having heard of it. Admittedly, I was drawn in by the recover of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet… Little did I know it would turn out to be much better than that.

The plot follows two characters, Frank and April Wheeler in the breakdown of their marriage despite being a young couple. Richard Yates highlights themes of longing for change and the damaging effects of living a life filled with dissatisfaction despite a seemingly perfect façade to outsiders throughout the novel.

Yate’s ability to draw the reader in is absolutely wonderful, and I was hooked. Call me peculiar but I found myself thinking about Frank and April Wheeler on my drive to the shops or whilst cleaning a couple of dishes. Whenever my mind had time to wonder, it found itself thinking about these characters as though they were old friends of mine. Throughout the drama novel, Yates makes you feel like you are a part of the character’s lives, leaving you with an inescapable attachment and a hunger for more.

What I particularly liked was the way in which the reader was in charge of how they perceived each character, rather than being guided by the author. Enough information was provided to form one’s own opinion but without a hidden bias that’s often found in the words of the writer. Days after finishing ‘Revolutionary Road’, I find myself still contemplating the characters and what I experienced, did I pity Frank Wheeler or find him despicable? As for April, I am still in the process of trying to figure her out.

I think the beauty of such an excellently written novel like this is the way it leaves you feeling afterwards. You tend to leave a book feeling satisfied and ready to begin another one, but a GOOD book leaves you feeling slightly perplexed and a mind that continues to ponder the experience for days. Good novels are also impossible to sum up accurately in one blog post!

I will definitely be reading some more of Richard Yates’ work in the future.

Ciao for now!

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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