Read this book before you see the movie!

Very few novels are as good or can pack such an emotional wallop like Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road. This month brings the (very good) film adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but we suggest reacquainting yourself with this classic before you hit the theaters.

The 1961 novel is about Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple who live in the Connecticut suburbs in the mid 1950s. Both have grand hopes and visions of their future, and cling to the idea that they were meant for something better than the hum and drum of suburbia. They decide to cast off the trappings of their quiet lives and move to Paris, but in the process each faces the disillusionment and disappointment in the truth of their reality. Yates is unflinchingly honest in his depiction of two people caught in a trap of their own making, and the bitterness and recriminations that follow. His prose is sharp, insightful, and ultimately heartbreaking. And while the 1950s-era of gray flannel suits and triple cocktail lunches are a thing of the past, the essential longing for a life lived better is every bit as true today.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.