Clare's Reviews > The Easter Parade

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
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's review
Jul 29, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-heart, memorable-authors, big-ideas
Read from April 16 to 18, 2012

This book was absolutely not what I was expecting. I'm not actually sure what I was expecting but this was not it. My only experience of Richard Yates is the Sam Mendes film of Revolutionary Road which I thought was excellent and harrowing. I found Kate Winslet's performance to be the best I have ever seen her deliver and it broke my heart. So really I should have known.

Richard Yates is often referred to as one of the most under-valued great American authors of all time and The Easter Parade is considered his second most well known book.

Well. It certainly packs a punch. The first thing I must say about this book, and what struck me most throughout is Richard Yates' understanding of how to write from a woman's perspective. One of my main issues with male authors using a women's voice in narration is that it more often than not just does not work, whereas women seem better able to grasp a man's narration. A friend recently told me that it is thought that a common reason for this is that women frequently read books written by men, told through mens' voices but the reversal is less common. Anyhow, Richard Yates has it and it was so pleasing to read, I felt so able to recognise the frustrations and heartache of being a woman. It is written in the third person but we stay with one character throughout the story.

The book tells the story of the Grimes family through the life of Emily Grimes, the youngest of the two sisters in the family. The book spans across about forty five years in relatively few pages, beginning when Emily is five. Nothing sensational especially happens, this is a about a very real family making it through life and how they might deal with its disappointments and how the perspective through which these disappointments are viewed changes with age. They make mistakes, they carry on, they drink too much, they settle for their lot. I know most of the characters in this book and I think this was why I couldn't put it down.

The thing with Emily Grimes is, after a while you start to think that she actually isn't an especially likable protagonist. She is selfish, she is weak and she uses people. But then you realise that she is just a real person and we are seeing deep in her heart, a place we don't often see with people we come to know. Probably, a lot of people go through their lives just like Emily Grimes and don't have the foresight or the courage or maybe even the strength to do what they know is really the right thing. Or maybe they think they have time and they'll get around to it eventually. We know, as the reader that Emily had the possibilities of a wonderful life and could have reflected some of that wonderfulness back onto the people around her but sometimes people just don't know how to live up to their full potential and they don't realise that it is them that could give others the chance to do the same.
And why oh why must people drink so much? The ruin of them is their ruin again.
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Quotes Clare Liked

Richard Yates
“And do you know a funny thing? I'm almost fifty years old and I've never understood anything in my whole life.”
Richard Yates, The Easter Parade

Reading Progress

04/16/2012 page 25
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-7 of 7) </span> <span class="smallText">(7 new)</span>

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Clare I love it already, how have I not read Richard Yates before?

Mary Ohh I love Yates, I finished "Disturbing the Peace" recently and it was great, very dark.

Clare Oh, I'll have to add that one to my list! Just writing my Easter Parade review now.

Mary If you liked the movie Revolutionary Road you should check out the book. Although I hate reading a book after seeing the movie, I found the book to be excellent and it didn't ruin the experience for me in this case.

Clare I definately shall, thanks Mary.

Clare Thanks Kirsty, have you read this book?

Clare I definately recommend it!

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