Allison's Reviews > The Easter Parade

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

Yates' novels are masterfully deceptive. You start out reading what seems like a typical story of a typical family -- maybe some of the characters are quirky, yes, but all families are like that. Then, as you read on, cracks start to appear, and what you thought was normal is anything but. The Easter Parade is about a family of three: a mother and two daughters. The mother is over dramatic, the older sister is obedient and overly compliant, but the younger sister Emily seems to have it together -- she is a successful student, embarks on a promising career in the city away from her suburban roots, has many relationships with men, and generally keeps herself clear-minded. But as the story moves along through the decades, all the characters start unraveling: the mother becomes alcoholic and mentally ill, the older sister allows her husband to physically abuse her and Emily, though still the strongest of the three, begins to realize that her relationships are askew; that her job is at risk; and most importantly, that her family has come completely undone. There is an underlying menace in this novel, which builds so slowly that you almost don't notice until it's too late. This parallels Emily's personal journey, and when tragic events ensue, her ultimate breakdown is completely, utterly terrifying.

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