Some have said that Richard Yates’ books is an indictment of marriage, suburbia, or both. Yates himself said in an interview that it is actually more about aborted dreams.
Frank and April are young and successful suburbanites with two children. Well, successful to others, but not to themselves. Frank hates his job and finds it excruciatingly boring. April hates the suburbs and finds her life as a wife and mother excruciatingly boring. When the couple (mostly April) devise a plan to get out of their present circumstances, they seem to relax and enjoy each other again — until a few glitches come their way.
My sisters and I read this together for our bookclub, and I have also seen the movie so it was interesting to compare the two. While the book was mostly from Frank’s and their neighbor Shep’s points of view, the movie had more of April and Mrs. Givings’ perspective. Also the endings were a bit different.
I found the book to be well-written but depressing. It’s definitely thought-provoking.
1961, 355 pp.