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Revolutionary Road

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  82,945 ratings  ·  6,876 reviews
Yates' classic novel of suburban disillusionment is now a major motion picture from DreamWorks, opening in theaters on December 25 and reuniting the stars of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. ...more
Paperback, 463 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Vintage Books USA (first published December 31st 1961)
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Erin Kelly This book is about conformity and the myth of the American Dream of the 1950s. April and Frank both think they're different and special -- until they …moreThis book is about conformity and the myth of the American Dream of the 1950s. April and Frank both think they're different and special -- until they realize that they've sold-out to the post-WWII obsession with conformity just as much as anyone else. April suffers from the "feminine mystique," identified by Betty Friedan during the women's movement. It's not just that April didn't want children or doesn't like doing the dishes. It's much more complex than that. The more choices you have, the more freedom you have. The more freedom you have, the happier you are likely to be. April's choices were limited because of a) her own choices; b) the social structure of the 1950s; c) her non-supportive husband; d) her gender. (less)
Maggie This book is definitely worth reading BEFORE the movie. There are a lot of details that the movie probably doesn't cover (haven't seen the movie yet).…moreThis book is definitely worth reading BEFORE the movie. There are a lot of details that the movie probably doesn't cover (haven't seen the movie yet). Yates creates these amazing characters and you really feel like by the end of the book you know them because you've been in their head. Hope this helps! (less)

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Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficciones
I let out a whoop of laughter on about page 180, when I finally figured Frank Wheeler out. You see, Frank spent most of his youth a scattered, bashful schmuck. Then after WWII, as a Columbia student and Village-dweller, he started getting laid all the time, thanks to a theatrically brooding pseudo-intellectual schtick. Nevermind that Frank is essentially a glib blowhard, talented in no artistic way (he's one of those tiresome people who whine about Conformity as if America invented it, threaten ...more
Glenn Russell
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books

Revolutionary Road - Set in 1955, portrait of American suffocating, grinding conformity. Author Richard Yates on his novel: "I think I meant it more as an indictment of American life in the 1950s. Because during the Fifties there was a general lust for conformity all over this country, by no means only in the suburbs—a kind of blind, desperate clinging to safety and security at any price." Republished as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series, Revolutionary Road is, for my money, the Gr
For the longest time I just wanted a family, kids, a decent job, and a happy life in suburbia. That was all I wanted. That's it. It seemed so simple, predictable, and reliable. It was my ideal image.

It seems that society has done a good job of putting that thought in everyone's head. The best thing for a young man is for him to go to college, get married, get a reliable job with a steady company, have babies (2 or 3, of course), make friends with neighbors, have birthday parties for the kids,
Will Byrnes
I read this in anticipation of seeing the film. It is a grim tale. The primary characters are April and Frank. They both hold a rather lofty opinion of themselves, but fail to actually do anything with their gifts, real or imagined. They find themselves stuck in a classic suburban nightmare of disenchantment with their circumstances and resentment of each other. The affection they do feel for each other comes and goes, mostly goes, as they wallow in their narcissism. She imagines a wondrous life ...more
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Imagine my surprise when I came across Stephen King's "Best Books of 2009" List (one not condescending enough to include solely those published this year), & saw that 2nd place belonged to Revolutionary Road. Glad I am not alone in feeling a strong deep sad empathy for this book. The story is EXTREMELY well told. The story, about young "revolutionaries" who end up doing exactly the opposite of what they've set out to do, is quite simple but very epoch-rich. It has different P.O.V.s, which deviat ...more
4.5 stars

“Intelligent, thinking people could take things like this in their stride, just as they took the larger absurdities of deadly dull jobs in the city and deadly dull homes in the suburbs. Economic circumstance might force you to live in this environment, but the important thing was to keep from being contaminated. The important thing, always, was to remember who you were.”

Richard Yates takes a well-honed surgeon’s blade, painstakingly dissects a marriage, examines its tortuous viscera, an
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Really Tough Love

Yates has a reputation as a chronicler of the smug years of post-WWII America. Perhaps. But as an artist, he is much more than a period sociologist. Yates’s understanding of the folie a deux which we call marriage is profound. The reasons two people find each other attractive are buried in experiences of which neither is conscious much less rationally able to think about.

To call such attraction love is euphemistic. It may be, at best, an attempt to redeem or complete oneself th
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sad-burbia
watching this movie last night made me want to read the book immediately after. and it's not a terrible movie, it's just a little... hammy, and the tone is uneven - whether these people are meant to be seen as victims of the stultifying, euthanizing effects of suburbia, or if they are at root unlikable people who deserve to be taken down a peg for their arrogance and their conviction that their involvement in this thing we call "suburbia" is just playacting, not to be taken seriously. the book d ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

Revolutionary road‬, Richard Yates. ‏‫‬‭New York‏‫‬‭‬‭‭‬‭‭: Bantam Books‭‏‫‭, 1962. 247 Pages.

Revolutionary Road (released December 31, 1961) is author Richard Yates's debut novel.

Set in 1955, the novel focuses on the hopes and aspirations of Frank and April Wheeler, self-assured Connecticut suburbanites who see themselves as very different from their neighbors in the Revolutionary Hill Estates. Seeking to break out of their suburban rut (and consequently blamin
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wise book. Many rate it as depressing, and yes, it tells a very tragic story. But at the same time, it's also a tremendously funny book. It's just that its humor stings because it's based in the most human of weaknesses: Self-rationalization.

Frank and April Wheeler are the prototypical post-WWII suburban couple -- happy on the outside, endlessly frustrated on the inside. But author Richard Yates isn't interested in just dissecting the suburbs. Frank and April are painfully aware of their
Jan 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My father, who'd like Frank Wheeler
Shelves: novels
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On my fling-o-meter scale, Revolutionary Road is a well-traveled book, having been flung (why does this past participle sound so ungainly?) across the room several times. The initial trip occurred when Richard Yates gratuitously threw in this bit of over-writing in the first chapter:
At first their rehearsals had been held on Saturdays—always it seemed, on the kind of windless February or March afternoon when the sky is white , the trees are black, and the brown fields and hummocks
I love e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g about this book.

Start with the cover—the big red family car, the white suburban houses in the background, the silhouette of a tree and a tumble of fallen, autumnal leaves scattering the ground. Doesn’t it put you in the mood of the hopeful fifties in New England, in America? That is the setting of the book. We look at a couple of suburban families, three to be more exact. What happens over the course of almost a year? That is it; that‘s the story. Two are young famili
Yates is adept at picking apart the well-intentioned duplicity within couples, which both causes and prevents further hurt, misunderstanding and deception, and the chasm between thoughts/dreams and actions.

The competitive dynamics of suburbia are similarly exposed. Keeping up appearances is important, which is why, at the start of the novel, April is so upset at the debacle of the am dram.


This is the painfully insightful story of a youngish couple, with two small children, living in New Eng
Felice Laverne
Rightfully a classic and will forever be one of my favorites. Damn, that's good writing!

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Nov 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revolutionary Road is a masterpiece of a genre that’s largely considered played out—the novel of suburban malaise. It’s a social novel about The Way We Live Now, only in this case Now is over 40 years ago and Yates’ take on the plight of the poor souls marooned in corporate/suburban America has long since been digested and superseded. It still persists to some degree—in films like American Beauty, novels such as Tom Perotta’s Little Children, and the brilliant TV show Weeds. But, American Beauty ...more
Steven Godin
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite novels, and easily one the greatest ever written, Richard Yates goes right for the necessary to work out who one really is. Summer, 1955, Frank and April Wheeler are living what to many would believe is the suburban American dream, wholesome friendly neighbours, and for Frank an undemanding job in Manhattan, all appears grand. But it isn't. The Wheelers might be young, beautiful and feel full of promise to the outside world, but they harbour little affection for each other.

Peter Boyle
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“That’s how we both got committed to this enormous delusion—because that’s what it is, an enormous, obscene delusion—this idea that people have to resign from real life and ‘settle down’ when they have families. It's the great sentimental lie of the suburbs...”

This incisive, crushing portrait of a crumbling marriage stirred up a lot of emotions in me - heartbreak for the characters' plights, awe at the brilliance of the writing. But most of all it made me feel happy (and relieved!) to be single.
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maxwell by: Nicola
Shelves: owned
This is definitely an "it's not you, it's me" book. The writing was lovely. I thought he captured the setting, tone, etc. extremely well. And I can imagine for its time, this book was pretty groundbreaking, and I can see why it's had a resurgence of popularity in the last decade or so. But honestly the storyline and theme of disillusionment in America, for me, is overdone. I've read a lot of books and plays (and this one definitely felt like something akin to an Albee or Miller play) that touch ...more
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I've been putting off reviewing this book. I didn't enjoy reading it, and it wasn't because the characters were unlikeable, which they were. There are authors who can write great books about people the reader hates. This wasn't one of them.

I get the whole 1950s values/suburbia/trap that Frank and April found themselves in. I just didn't care. He was a whiny, immature, alcoholic. She was a bored suburban housewife whose only sense of identity was tied into how successful Frank may/may not be in l
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

I have to confess that every once in a while, reading news about what "conventional morality" makes people do to other people, I get into a quite real rage against Frank Wheeler, so many years after I read his story, his fictional psychological bullying of his wife, trampling her dreams with his feet as hard as he could. There are a few pages well into the second part
Jason Pettus
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As any lover of the arts knows, an artist's reputation depends not only on what society thinks of their work, but also what they think of it over the passage of time, with many creative professionals' careers dipping up and down over the decades based on changing trends and tastes. Take American author Richard Yates for an excellent example; celebrated by the academic community when he first started writing in the early 1960s, he was considered in the vanguard of the nascent "postmodern" movemen ...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
3 Stars

“No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.”

Alternate titles for this book include:

Not-So-Subtlety Talking About Masculinity
Gender Roles Suck
Everyone is Really Unhappy
Gatsby Thought He Had it Bad

Vonnegat once compared this to Gatsby, and I think that's incredibly accurate. If Gatbsy is about the American Dream in the 1920s, this is a fantastic disillusion of 'achieving' that dream in the 1950s.

Frank is a narcissist obsessed with preserving his own masculinity-- the se
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well, i read the book ages ago and it left such an impression that when i signed up for bookface i stamped the sucker with a fiver. the gothsissy promises if i re-read it i'll knock off a few stars. whatever.

i saw the movie last night and a word popped into my head:

smimsicholy: a specific combination of smug-whimsy-melancholy seen in the work of certain 'important' artists and/or entertainers.

yeah. if sam mendes is the cinematic anti-christ than this movie's his mastercheese. it's a laughable
Frank Wheeler, once a rebellious seeker of alternative choices, a young social vagabond, the nicotine-stained, Jean-Paul Sartre kind of guy, testing his boundaries and prospects, and being regarded as 'a veteran' (of WWII) and 'intellectual', finds himself getting married to April Johnson, once an aspiring actress, a graduate from drama school. Whatever happened in her life, she was always ready to take flight whenever she felt like it.

For April he was 'The Golden Boy', the 'terrifically sexy g
Glenn Sumi
Revolutionary Road is a masterpiece of realistic fiction and one of the most biting, scathing critiques I've ever read of 50s era American optimism and conformity.

Bored with their dull, safe, suburban existence, Frank and April Wheeler – who've always felt they were destined for something great – attempt to carpe their diem, and make plans to move to Europe, where Frank can "find" himself.

Still as sharp and relevant as it must have been when it was published over 50 years ago (!), Yates's book
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone."

When I think of Revolutionary Road, I can't help but think of a friendemy I was acquainted with some years ago. Our conversations usually started out charmingly enough (she was quite the bookworm), but usually ended on a low note when she'd start criticizing everything about me in a jovial, joking sort of manner. I never knew if it was me or her that was nuts! Anyway, o
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100, famous-books
There’s an impression that American manhood took a nosedive in the ‘60s after a generation of manly men beat back the Nazis and then turned their no-nonsense pragmatism and can-do spirit to business and started a huge economic boom. Since those damn dirty hippies ruined the country, and liberal crybabies made being a hetro white male a crime, it’s just been generation after generation of worthless girly-men ever since.

However, after watching Mad Men and reading Rabbit, Run and Revolutionary Road
Nandakishore Mridula
I have heard a story about a king who asked his court historian to write a comprehensive history of all the great men who ever lived. Appalled by the size of the tome created, the king kept on asking the scholar to edit it, putting only the absolutely important events common to all of them. Finally, the effort ended in one sentence: “They were born, they lived, and they died.”

The moral of the story is simple – reduced to the basics, each human life is the same: brief candles destined to survive
This was by no means a feel-good book, but it was a well-written, well-told story. Think Madame Bovary meets American Beauty meets the Laura Brown character from The Hours – all portraying various mixtures of suburban spleen (or ennui) and personal and marital deroutes.

Written in 1961, the novel describes how two people within a marriage deal with (or rather don’t deal with) various issues in 1955, some of which are society-induced, like the post-world war economic boom in the United States and
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a novel by a white male that is highly praised over the decades by other white males. In it, a white male only treats his wife well if she gives back all of the power and stops emasculating him by deigning to have her own life and opinions or (god forbid) expresses a desire for bodily autonomy. He is critical of suburbia because is promotes feminism too much (!) and agrees to have a job when they have children even though he intentionally finds a job that will pay him to do nothing, beca ...more
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Readalongs with K...: Revolutionary Road STARTING Thoughts/discussion questions 8 25 Aug 06, 2020 12:43PM  
Readalongs with K...: Revolutionary Road FINISHING Thoughts/discussion questions 3 13 Jul 17, 2020 01:07AM  
The Book Vipers: Group Fiction Read - December 2018 - Revolutionary Road 10 33 Jan 13, 2019 03:00PM  
Why was she "nice" to him that morning? 7 219 Mar 10, 2018 09:27AM  
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HPL Reads: My favorite doomed romance 5 27 Jul 05, 2017 12:42PM  

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Richard Yates shone bright upon the publication of his first novel, Revolutionary Road, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. It drew unbridled praise and branded Yates an important, new writer. Kurt Vonnegut claimed that Revolutionary Road was The Great Gatsby of his time. William Styron described it as "A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." Tennessee ...more

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