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Revolutionary Road

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  69,059 Ratings  ·  6,210 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.
Paperback, 463 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Vintage Books USA (first published 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)

Community Reviews

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Eric
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 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
Ben
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, d
...more
Glenn Russell
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



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
...more
Fabian
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 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 rich. It has different POVs, which deviates from the outst ...more
BlackOxford
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
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
...more
Zack
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
...more
Ellen
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
...more
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
karen
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
Cecily
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.

Plot

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

The Navi Review | Twitter | Bookstagram
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.
...more
David
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
Maxwell
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maxwell by: Nicola
Shelves: i-own-it, 2017
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
Michelle
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
...more
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
Cosimo
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quando sei gentile

“È come se tutti si fossero tacitamente accordati per vivere in uno stato di perenne illusione. Al diavolo la realtà! Dateci un bel po’ di stradine serpeggianti e di casette dipinte di bianco, rosa e celeste; fateci essere tutti buoni consumatori, fateci avere un bel senso di Appartenenza e allevare i figli in un bagno di sentimentalismo ― papà è un grand’uomo perché guadagna quanto basta per campare, mamma è una gran donna perché è rimasta accanto a papà per tutti questi anni
...more
Katie Schmid
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suicides and the homeless.
Recommended to Katie by: David Henson, the jerk.
Oh sweet barbequed jaysus--why does anyone ever get married? And why do I keep listening to my boyfriend when he recommends books to me?

Because he has good taste. Good, horribly morose and depressing taste.

This is an excellent book. Richard Yates has a preternatural ability to divine and pick apart the artifice we assume in everyday life with our loved ones and coworkers. The young couple of the book, Frank and April Wheeler, are bougie suburbanites who aspire to be artistic interesting people,
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سی و یکم ماه می سال 2014 میلادی
عنوان: جاده رولوشنری - فیلمنامه؛ فرزاد حسنی؛ تهران، افراز، 1391، در 248 ص؛ شابک: 9789642438969؛ موضوع: فیلمنامه های امریکایی - قرن 20 م
عنوان: جاده انقلابی؛ کارگردان: سام مندس؛ تهیه کننده: بابی کوهن؛ سام مندس؛ اسکات رودین؛ نویسنده: جاستین هیث؛ بر پایه همین رمان از: ریچارد ییتس؛ بازیگران: لئوناردو دیکاپریو؛ کیت وینسلت؛ کیتی بیتس؛ مایکل شنون؛ موسیقی: توماس نیومن؛ فیلمبرداری: راجر دیکینس؛ تدوین: طارق انور؛ توزیعکننده
...more
Eve
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
"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
...more
Margitte
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
...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 secr
...more
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
...more
Arwen56
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avete mai letto Stoner, di John Edward Williams?

Bè, punto primo, se non l’avete già fatto, fatelo, perché merita, a mio modesto avviso.

Punto secondo, Revolutionary Road è lo straordinario e puntuale contraltare di Stoner. Frank Wheeler, infatti, è tutto ciò che, fortunatamente, William Stoner non è .

Intendo dire che la collazione tra i due romanzi propone e suggerisce, in modo estremamente efficace, l’esatta, precisa e fondamentale differenza che intercorre tra “essere” e “apparire”. Sebbene
...more
brian
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
...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.

Bo
...more
Carmo
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revolutionary Road - "...um lugar onde viviam pessoas - um lugar onde o difícil e intrincado processo de viver pode, às vezes, dar origem a incríveis harmonias de felicidade e, às vezes, ser a fonte de uma desordem quase trágica "

Revolutionary Road é a antítese d'O Grande Gatsby. Se o segundo é a ascenção do sonho americano em toda a sua grandiosidade, o primeiro é o ruir de todos as aspirações e a consequente frustração por não corresponder aos exigentes padrões sociais, ou por não querer simpl
...more
Nood-Lesse
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L’intenzione (dichiarata) di Yates, era quella di scrivere un romanzo che avesse come madre Madame Bovary e come padre il Grande Gatsby. Il figlio Revolutionary prese decisamente il meglio da entrambi.
Già in “Ester Parade” mi aveva colpito il grado di emancipazione dei personaggi. Ripenso ai racconti di mio nonno, coetaneo di Yates che mi parlava di fame e miseria e non di velleità intellettuali e anticonformismo.
Yates in questo libro ha creato un impianto dove la pressione è costante Quando uno
...more
Helle
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
...more
dianne
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frank and April, April and Frank, for whom marriage was a constant competition, jockeying for imagined purchase for a better demonstration of their power over the other. War of the IDs (Dr. Freud's id, not identification - although they had issues with that, too)

A Shiny Happy couple who have two healthy children and decide to move to the suburbs; but-of-course holding themselves above their neighbors and ‘friends’ while they slipped right into the roles; maintaining great disdain for what and wh
...more
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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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“if you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.” 583 likes
“It's a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.” 573 likes
More quotes…