Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book 17: Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

I read this book way too soon after having seen the movie to be able to make a true judgment on it. Instead I found myself comparing it to the movie, and I was honestly surprised just how closely the film followed the book. There were scenes where all the dialogue was straight from the book. I'm not sure if I ever seen such a loyal adaptation before.

Having said that, the major difference between the film and the novel was actually rather interesting to me. They didn't actually change any plot points in the adaptation, but in the film, the view points are different. It isn't until near the end of the novel that the reader ever hears April's voice and sees things from her perspective. The rest of the novel is almost entirely from Frank's view, with a few scenes focusing on the realtor and Shep Campbell, the neighbor. Whatever we as readers see of April is through their eyes. The film begins incorporating April's perspective early on. For example, the day following a big fight in the film, there are scenes of April at the house, going through some of their old things, and having flashbacks to moving to the area and her life with Frank early in their relationship. These flashbacks all happen in the novel as well but they are from Frank's perspective (and possibly one of them was from the realtor's, but I read this earlier this week, and don't have the novel with me).

I also kept seeing and hearing Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet while reading the novel - not necessarily bad people to imagine in these roles since they are great actors, but I think I needed more distance from the film to really see the book on its own (or I probably should have read it first).

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