Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates

Richard Yates’ 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and Alice Wheeler, a beautiful suburban couple with two children and a lifetime of broken dreams. Alice was going to be an actress; Frank was going to live in Europe. But real life imposes on their dreams and slowly breaks down all that was good between them.

The style of this book reminds me strongly of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The tone of both novels is one of glittering excitement masking the ugly, mundane truth. Both have the sense that no matter what happens, the ending is destined for tragedy, and while for a brief moment you might believe – hope – wish that somehow it all leads to a happy ending, you know the truth.

I would have loved to read Revolutionary Road in a class. The writing is rich and full, and there is a lot to analyze and discuss. It is about the hopelessness of lost dreams and how easy it is to lose ourselves.


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