by Nic Olson
Weren’t the biographies of all great men filled with this same kind of youthful groping, this same kind of rebellion against their fathers and their father’s ways? He could even be grateful in a sense that he had no particular area of interest: in avoiding specific goals he had avoided specific limitations. For the time being the world, life itself, could be his chosen field.
-Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
A friend recommended the book ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates not long ago. I read it in a week. Books rarely are swallowed this easily for me, even my favourites. I wouldn’t consider this a favourite by any means, but I would give it the recommendation to any one of my dearest friends, similar values or not. Any book touted by K. Vonnegut or J. Close is something to be taken seriously.
I don’t even know how to write an article in the standard form anymore. So much of my writing has been in such an informal setting since high school that when I try to write a real formatted essay to prove to myself that I am just as good as those nerdbags at Concordia I just can’t do it. Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe the world needs less formal, traditional, forced literature and more random bullshit like this. The idea still gets across, I hope, just in a less deliberate and organized way.
I read a chapter of one of the Twilight books once. I heard that it was truly bad writing, like I heard they were truly bad movies. I watched the first one, alone, in my parents house one night. Could’ve been worse. Then I read the first chapter of the second book, and that was worse. Worst. It is nice to know that although people can make lifetimes of money writing about vampire sex, there are people who can write books about real relationships in an honest way, and make it relevant for fifty years. That’s this book.
Reading has been my best friend for the past two or three weeks. I would recommend to you, that even if you have friends, school obligations, addictions to hockey, that you should read something of your choice for your own pleasure and self-expansion. Read this book. Quit your job. Move to France.
‘Now you’ve said it. The hopeless emptiness. Hell, plenty of people are on to the emptiness part; out where I used to work, on the Coast, that’s all we ever talked about. We’d sit around talking about emptiness all night. Nobody every said ‘hopeless,’ though; that’s where we’d chicken out. Because maybe it does take a certain amount of guts to see the emptiness, but it takes a whole hell of a lot more to see the hopelessness. And I guess when you do see the hopelessness, that’s when there’s nothing to do but take off. If you can.’
-‘John Givings’, Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road