Yates and the Dream...

The man in the photo is Richard Yates.  He wrote a book titled Revolutionary Road; yes, on which the Winslet/DiCaprio movie was based.  I finally saw the film Friday night.  I am now hunting for the book...mediocre John hunting.

The film is disturbing.  And from what I've read, it doesn't even scratch the brilliance of the book.  

After seeing the DVD clamshell, I believed it was a period piece - 1950s - a story of a young married couple rapidly drowning in the suburban/conformist wave of that time.  In a very real sense, it is. However, as I sniffed around a little about Yates, I found an interview where for him, above all else, Revolutionary Road was a book about abortion.  In a 1972 Ploughshares article he said, "Everything gets aborted in the book...it's...built on a series of abortions, of all kinds - an aborted play, several aborted careers, any number of aborted ambitions and aborted plans and aborted dreams - all leading up to a real, physical abortion, and a death at the end..."

As I said, I'm now searching for a used copy of the book.  

I saw that theme of abortion as I watched the film and I kept thinking how little has changed since the 50s it portrayed.  In no way do I want to diminish the real, physical issue of abortion.  The chilling nature of that reality surfaced days ago in the killing of a Kansas physician.  At the same time, in no way do I desire to scurry past that multifaceted word; we are all victims. To not be able to talk about the word abortion in all of its complexity reveals that cars and fashions and widespread cigarette use may have changed, but we the people have not.  Our Facebook updates indicate what time we're headed to the gym or which character from The Facts of Life we most resemble; we have not changed.

It is not the American Dream to believe that you could be wonderful in this world; no, that is the human dream, a pro-life longing knit into each of us in the womb.  There seemed to be a thread of hope in the movie, something known as bravery, a truly revolutionary road. I want to see if the book even points in that direction or if it is all merely a dead-end.         


  1. I haven't read the book or seen the movie. Of course the Kate and Leo factor had me wishing to see it. But I figured it might be a downer.

    As long as hope hasn't been completely aborted. As long as there's a thread of grace to pull me along...I think I could read/watch them.

    I'll be chewing on this for a while.

  2. Does your local library do Interlibrary Loan? It's a great way to get books for a nominal fee. We charge $2.00 to cover postage.

    When you use ILL, your librarian finds the libraries that will send it. Your job is just to wait...and to pick it up when it arrives.

  3. and of course, to return it on time!

  4. Amazon cites used copies starting at $2.78

  5. I JUST watched the movie by myself on Thursday night...thought the exact.same.thing. as you..lemme get my hands on the book!!

    I figured there were some deep undercurrents in the writing that were eluded to but not adequately described in the movie...I'm going to check my library this week.

  6. After a break I'm back. Indeed, a good post to make a return visit. I am sending this to a friend; one who has drawn some of these same conclusions about life.