I sat behind Frank and April Wheeler at mass on Christmas day - a nearly exact replica of how I'd imagined these two characters to look... tall, attractive, poised and casual, at least outwardly. For some reason I'd been able to avoid simply thinking of them as Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet, forming my own cast of envisioned characters. And suddenly there they were, the most prominent members of my cast, singing "One Bread, One Body" just feet away. They had two young kids to boot - a boy and a girl, just like the book. I had to leave promptly to avoid staring and/or asking them what they were doing so far from Connecticut.
For some reason I was under the impression that the movie version of Revolutionary Road was supposed to be released on December 26, so I rushed to finish it in time for opening day. It was then that I found out I had an entire month to go before it would reach theaters. Oh well... I've actually read mostly so-so reviews anyway, so I might just save my money and buy a bowl of soup.
I guess the point of this meandering reflection (I've been trying to make more sense, to talk more linearly) is that I really, really enjoyed the book. It was more or less inevitable that I would appreciate its context - I'm thoroughly fascinated by Mad Men and the late 50s/early 60s in general, mostly the social mores, apparel and aesthetically curious cuisine. But I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the story itself. It could've been melodramatic, but it really wasn't. Melodrama has highs and lows with typically heartbreaking endings. The difference with Revolutionary Road is that the entire story is heartbreaking, and it never tries to be anything else. Even the events, instances of humor and moments of (apparent) marital bliss that seem pleasant on the surface are tinged with foreboding. As a result, you never get very attached to anyone. You never get attached because you know, as well as they know maybe, that they are doomed. That's not really a spoiler, because doomed can mean a variety of things. Like right now, I am doomed to sit in a airport for a long time. Doom is relative.
Anyway, I'll most likely see the movie (the soup can wait, and I hear you can get the senior discount if you use the kiosk), and I probably won't like it as much as the book. But that's to be expected. No movie can live up to the one that plays in your head, especially when you’re close enough with its characters to stand behind them in the communion line.