June 27, 2009

The Easter Parade - Richard Yates

Inspired by Claire's post about the Vintage Classics editions of Richard Yates' books I went out searching for one. I fully confess to seeking out the books based only on their glorious vintage/retro covers - truly shallow I know but at least I am being honest! I have been tempted to see the movie of Yates' Revolutionary Road (mainly for the gorgeous and talented Kate Winslet) but I have heard so many scary stories about the movie being quite "dark and depressing" that I have stayed away from the movie version and the book.

The book store I visited yesterday only had a couple of the Vintage Classic editions so I ended up buying The Easter Parade - first published in 1976.

From the opening lines of the book I was hooked;

"Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life, and looking back it always seemed that the trouble began with their parents' divorce. That happened in 1930, when Sarah was nine years old and Emily five"

From the very outset you certainly have a clear picture that this book is not going to be a happily ever after kind of book - and yet I loved it. It felt honest and raw and sharp - you were in this story for better or for worse.

The book covers the lives of the Grimes sisters from the time of their parents' divorce until they are middle aged women - each with very different life experiences and outlooks. The book is told from the perspective of the younger sister, Emily, and it is told with brutal honesty for the most part even though you sense, at times, that Emily really doesn't have a lot of insight into her life.

I absolutely devoured this book and I will be looking out for all of Yates' other work - starting with Revolutionary Road.


Anonymous said...

I'll admit that I have taken note of those books based on Claire's post, too, so I'm shallow with you! :)

I have yet to read Yates, but this one sounds good, too. I love the opening: I would be hook too!

jess said...

I loved the film of Revolutionary Road- it's certainly not light-hearted entertainment, but it was powerful and moving and amazingly honest. You've reminded me that I've been meaning to read Yates' novel ever since.

Karen said...

Hi infiniteshelf - I think cover love can be a good thing - it certainly was in this case as it has led me to a wonderful author that I had not discovered before!

Hi Jess - I am going to read RR and then watch the movie - I love the way you have described the movie. Sounds amazing.

Anonymous said...

I found The Easter Parade a draining but impressive book. I thought Yates did a wonderful job of depicting the Grimes sisters' relationship and was gutted by the ending. So much so that I haven't read any more by him (yet!)

I'm notsure I'm up for the longer (but by all accounts no less depressing) Revolutionary Road.

megan said...

I love that cover! It's brilliant. And very tempting, but my book buying ban has been going horribly this week, so I'll have to hold off :)

Yes, agree that RR film was very powerful and moving, and also very depressing. It's really worthwhile watching, but you've got to be in the right mood for it.

Kate Winslet is terrific, as per usual, and so is Leo DiCaprio (and it gave me a little thrill of girlish delight to see them in a movie together again!!)

Anonymous said...

Great review! I haven't read this one, but I loved Revolutionary Road when I read it in college. I was in a "Modern America" class and Yates' work was an integral text for our coursework!

I recently saw the film version of "Revolutionary Road" and let me tell you -- "dark and depressing" doesn't begin to describe it! I don't remember the novel being so sad... but whew, I felt like I needed a hug and a bag of candy after finishing the movie! :) Too bad I was alone on an airplane!

Lisa said...

I haven't read anything by Yates, and I didn't see the film version of Revolutionary Road, either. I haven't avoided it on purpose but just haven't gotten around to it. I do like the description of this book and absolutely love the cover. I am a sucker for great covers. I didn't know his books were being reprinted with these great retro covers. Thanks for the heads up!

Iliana said...

Haven't read any Richard Yates books but have been really interested to be honest because of the movie. Still haven't seen the movie yet either so now I don't know whether to get to the book first or not but either way I'm looking forward to both.

Thank you for such a great review of this book.

Anonymous said...

This book actually sounds even better than Revolutionary Road. RR is told through the perspectives of husband and wife. The movie I have skipped because I'm squeamish of what people have told me.

Karen said...

Hi adevotedreader - I must have been in a pretty upbeat mood when I read this one because I actually felt ok when I finished it! I think books like this often make me feel greatful for my life and the fact that it isn't that tragic!

Hi Megan - I think I'm going to give the book of RR a go before I head to the movie but I am feeling the same as you - Kate and Leo together again can only be a good thing!

Hi Meg - I will make sure I have lots of chocolate and good company with me when I watch RR! Thanks for the tip!

Hi Lisa - I would definitely recommend giving Yates a go - the amazing writing overrode the depressing content for me.

Hi Iliana - it's always a tough one isn't it - book or movie first? I think I will try and read the book first because I always seem to regret it if I try and do it the other way around.

Hi Matt - apparently this one is supposed to be one of his best (if not the best). I can't compare yet but I will give RR a go soon.

claire said...

Hi!! I'm happy you loved Easter Parade (at least I won't feel guilty that I made you buy it, lol!). I'm so shallow with you too! In fact, one of these days I might splurge on three: Rev Road, Cold Spring Harbor, and Young Hearts in Love, and mostly because they're the three covers I love best, ha ha. I guess there are a lot of us here who can't resist gorgeous covers! :D

Danielle said...

I have Revolutionary Road--which I keep meaning to read....I agree that the nice, vintage covers are really attractive! As usual the US versions are different than yours but still nice.

Karen said...

Hi Claire - you shouldn't feel guilty at all - I am so glad you posted about these covers or I might never have discovered Yates as a writer - and that would have been a huge shame.

Hi Danielle - I have just started to read RR and I am captivated by the story already...

vvb32 reads said...

i'm taken with this cover too. i may have to see if i can find it. i've been meaning to watch revolutionary road. have you watched any of the mad men episodes? they are of the same genre, but not as dark as rr.

Karen said...

Hi vvb32 reads - I am currently addicted to Mad Men! I'm only on to the first series at the moment though.

Anonymous said...

Nanokeratin locks onto the hair, forming a fine, smooth
coat of keratin. My hair doesn't always look good when I'm going to
attend openings and red carpet events. Soon after this,
use curl lotion all more than your hair, and make use of mousse and squeeze this in your hair to that
your curls seem flawless.

My webpage :: hair products