06 December 2009

Young Hearts Crying

by Richard Yates

Some of you may recognize Mr Yates as the author of Revolutionary Road, which was recently made into a film starring Kate Winslet (love her) and Leonardo di Caprio (love him too now that Titanic and Gisele aren't the only topics that spring to mind whenever I think of him). I read RR ages ago and have now picked it up to reread; I saw the film back when it was still in theaters, and I was so impressed with the screenplay and the acting (and the set, and the clothes: wow, the 1950s were fabulous for fashion).

The setting of YHC is fairly similar to RR, and there's a similar theme in that it's basically a story of a young, hopeful couple who eventually come to face that reality isn't as romantic as they might have hoped. What Yates does very well is use the contrast of the city and the suburbs to make his points about people, and their nature, and their behavior.

This is not a page-turner. It's not a book that's meant to be read in a single sitting, I don't think, and I believe, actually, that it wouldn't be as good if you did read it quickly. The story develops over about 3 decades, so a slow reading allows you to know the characters and live with them for a while, and thus appreciate the book more. Even while you're reading, you know that this isn't going to be a book with a neat and tidy ending, but you know that it will be satisfying nonetheless.

I enjoyed reading YHC, and I'm enjoying rereading RR. Richard Yates is pretty amazing.

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