Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I missed the turn on Revolutionary Road

A couple years ago I read a review of Revolutionary Road, the book by Richard Yates. It sounded straight up my alley. National Book Award finalist. And one of my favorite storylines: the inner workings of a suburban marriage gone awry.

I was so disappointed once I got to reading it, though. The writing style was bland and uninteresting. Unsophisticated, even.

Did I get the right book? I went back to the internet. Wiki said "the novel was chosen by Time as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present." Huh? Really?

So I have to ask. Was it just me? Did anyone else try to read this one?

Now that it's out as a movie starring Kate Winslet, one of my top female actors, I want to see it. And of cose I'm dying to see this onscreen pair together again. But as for the failed book attempt, I feel gypped. I wish I had stuck it out. Maybe once the plot made itself known I would have seen what all the fuss was about.

So as of now, my plan is to see the movie and forget about trying the book a second time. I'm one of those people who likes reading the book first. Always.

But I dunno. What do you think? Is it worth a second try?


Orion said...

unless you've changed significantly or have had some life altering events... your opinion shouldn't change on it. at least mine never do.

i've learned to lower my standards on what the general public considers moving, timeless, or classic; that way i'm less likely to be disappointed.

books, movies, music... it's all subject to an opinion based on personality.

blognut said...

See the movie - don't read the book again, you probably won't feel any differently than you did the first time. I usually prefer books to movies, but I found that particular book difficult to get through as well.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Since I don't have time to read the book anyway, I'll just go see the movie too. Kate is great, but I truly love me so Leo! Blood Diamond hooked me.

Unknown said...

I'm not going to spend the money on a movie ticket.
I will wait for the DVD - I have netflix!
Mean while I will finish one of the many books I bought and never read :)
Be Loved!

Sunny said...

I found the book boring.

Stacie said...

I have a neighbor that reads all of the time. I told her that I wanted to read this book because of the time period. She said DON'T! It was sickeningly despressing and went nowhere.

Trying real hard to move on said...

I saw the movie a couple weeks ago and have the book. I started it and haven't gotten too far. Whoever said it "went nowhere" is right, about the movie at least. It was a good movie I guess, as far as movies these days go, but I went in with high expectations and just thought it was "eh". Acting was good though.

Not sure about the book yet. The fact that I've had it for a couple weeks and haven't gotten real far into it should tell me something. I can't tell you how many times over the last couple weeks I have picked up a magazine to read instead.

Maggie May said...

i thought it was very well written, in the straightforward style of that time, in strong voice. it's a certain type of literature, not flowery, but the voice is so assured and strong- that is the mastery. anyway i thought it was so unrelentingly depressing i'd never read it again.

Mrs. G. said...

I have tried to read this book at least three times over the years. I never get more than sixty pages in before I start nodding off.

I didn't like the movie either.

Maybe I'll try again in another ten years.

Real Live Lesbian said...

I didn't read the book, but I did see the movie. Ugh...made me want to slit my wrists. The acting is wonderful, but the storyline is just dull.

Laura said...

I suggest that you skip the movie. I felt the same way about the book. The writing was uninteresting and bland. Kate and Leo do a great job of fighting, but their words leave me think that everyone was so bottled up inside that they couldn't see she was manic or sleeping with her neighbor. Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire? Now that's a movie!

Helena said...

Please give us a review if you do go and see the movie. I haven't decided whether or not to see it so I need some advice.

shrink on the couch said...

orion -- you're probably right. it didn't click the first time AT ALL, I doubt it will the second time. and true, one person's classic is another person's trash.

blognut -- I love it when advice is exactly what I want to hear!

jenn -- I'm not so hot on Leo. Need to see Blood Diamond, I guess.

buddha -- DVD here, too, I think, especially after glancing at some of these comments.

sunny -- ah, this is nice. I'm not so crazy afterall.

stacie -- this may just be the most helpful and time saving post -- to me, that is. thanks. and thank your neighbor.

trying real hard -- yes, when I start a new book and reach for a magazine instead, it's a surefire clue.

maggie may -- depressing in a book doesn't bother me (i've got my own depressive tendencies) and my list of books I'd never read again is a thousand long, at least. but you're the first to recommend it.

mrs g -- I'll add this to my list of "don't do its". I didn't get sleepy so much as think the writing was amateurish.

real live -- that's disappointing. now I'm wondering about seeing the movie, too!!

laura -- ahh, so there's a psychological undercurrent here, huh? now I'm more intriqued!

helena -- will do. I need to post about a few movies I saw over the past month. was on a binge.

Deb said...

See the movie. It's not a big time investment. Life is too short to read unreadable books.

Jocelyn said...

I've not read the book, but I would recommend seeing the movie, if only for Winslet's performance.

Not that I've seen it. But, um, I've heard.

At any rate, equating a book and its movie adaptation is fruitless, as so often one outscores the other. In this case, you have the pleasure of the movie in front of you.

bernthis said...

I liked the book, I did not love it. I didn't have a hard time getting through it but I think I liked it more than you b/c i was reading it for a book club and we got to discuss it which made me appreciate it more

LTYM said...

Oh, I've heard you'll want to kill yourself if you read that entire book, so please don't try. We'd miss you. :)

e.beck.artist said...

i read the book and liked it, but just ok .... i do NOT know at all what the big deal was ... it was not so great .... i sometimes think the books that win awards are too hard to read ... somehow too obscure in their "goodness" .... don't read the book .... i hope to like the film....

flutter said...

I want to see the movie, simply because of Kate. It is the same as The Reader for me.

Mels Place in Big Bear said...

Haven't read or seen it. I think it might hit to close to home and put me over the edge. I don't need that right now.

JCK said...

I haven't read the book, but like you read the books first. Usually. But, then...if you like the book then the movie never meets your expectations.

I'd be curious to see what you think of the movie when you see it. I was really moved by it. But, it is dark.

Screaming Meme said...

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Maggie May said...

depressing novels don't bother me either- i'm a huge JCO fan- but this was different. i wrote a review of the book on my blog a while back.

Alison said...


I do believe you will still find the same response if you read it again.

Books are so personal. There is a writer here, Tim Winton, who is highly respected and a darling of the literary world. Kinda like "Australia's best writer" category.

So I made my self labour through "Cloud Street", I forced myself to the end. The only benefit of doing that was that I can completely confirm that it started and finished as a boring piece of crud.

I believe you may be wasting your time!

Fantastic Forrest said...

I think you should trust your instincts, particularly since I just read the first several comments which seem to echo your response.

What about YOU writing something with that general storyline? I'll bet big bucks it wouldn't be bland, uninteresting or unsophisticated.

Vodka Mom said...

I think you HAVE to see it! It's a great experiment!!

Can't wait to hear what happens.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book, but did see the movie. Keeping this short ( I could say a lot about this film) I found it an absorbing and worthwhile film to see. If you've ever suffered the battle between what you should do and what you'd love to do, should I stay or should I go, and the nagging little voice in your head telling you you're nuts, when you've just about made the decision, you'll see a lot in this film. It is dark, but it is good.

Fantastic Forrest said...

My friends and I wound up at this movie tonight - we'd planned to see Rachel Getting Married but happy hour lasted a little too long.

I'm glad I saw it. It has the Sam Mendes touch. Did you like American Beauty? If so, I'll bet you'll like this film.

Blognut's advice makes sense to me. Don't worry about the book.

The film really made an impression on me. I found myself getting lightheaded because I kept forgetting to breathe.

The film's action and music got so tense, making me feel something very powerful was going to happen, that I held my breath!

stephanie said...

It fascinates me how different people approach, and come away from, certain movies.

My good friends & I went to see the movie last night - we were substantially affected; all of us have posted messages this morning of how we're still absorbing it.

Kate & Leonardo are magnificent and all the supporters are strong & moving as well. I can't stop thinking about those characters' lives and choices and what-if?s.

It is, however, supremely sad to be disappointed in a story you expected to be more. Best of luck...!

shrink on the couch said...

fantastic -- do try to see Rachel Getting Married. I'd like to hear your opinion. I thought it was very well done, if a bit too annoying at times.

stephanie -- yes, it is fascinating. one person's "sink your teeth into the human drama" is another person's two hours of torture.

Thanks to all for the comments and opinions, about the book AND movie. Now, I just need to SEE the movie. I've pretty much decided to give up on the book. Unless, of course, I see the movie and then decide I HAVE to know more.