Some days, my mood is really good. Some days, I have “down” days, or more specifically, “down” moments.
I say down moments because my mood will shift, even if I suddenly feel sad. Some days, I’m worried about stupid stuff, like letting myself fret over the future–which I know will turn out just fine, but my brain will lie to me and tell me that I should worry about something that is yet to come.
Note: the book cover is an alternative one. the original features “the orgasmic man”
This 724-paged novel captivated me, chewed me up with its rawness, spit me back out, and came back swinging with fresh emotions and intense feels. Hanya Yanagihara’s work is akin to an MMA fighter: Once you’re in the cage, her characters punch, kick, and grab you in a merciless headlock and refuse to let go. It’s the saddest, most visceral book I’ve ever read as an adult–and yet there’s bright rays of humor, friendship, love, and hope.
[The projector’s film crackles & big band music springs to life. The announcer’s voice is jolly.] Joining us this evening is a young woman all the way from the land of ten thousand lakes! She’s traveled far, and has much to say about this particular picture, Revolutionary Road.
Grab your popcorn and pull up a chair. It’s going to be a doozy! [Music draws to a close as per the horns and the drums.]
Trigger warning: discussions about abortion
April: Do you want to know the worst part? Our whole existence here is based on this great premise that we’re special and superior to the whole thing. But we’re not. We’re just like everyone else! Look at us. We’ve bought into the same ridiculous delusion: This idea that you have to resign from life and settle down the moment you have children. And we’ve been punishing each other for it.
April and her husband Frank are struggling to appear perfect. They have achieved the American dream: a lovely home, a stable income, and two beautiful children. On the outside, the young couple are a well-to-do sort, who have no troubles at all. Naturally, this is a lie. Underneath the dresses and the neatly tied ties, there’s a lack of satisfaction.
Frank is dissatisfied with his line of work, having taken after his old man at the same company. His wife April notices this. She suggests one night that their family move to Paris, a place where a younger Frank longed to revisit. While April gets everything ready for their trip, I can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding. What if something comes up and the family is unable to make their voyage across the sea? Even if the Wheeler’s go to Paris, what if its not as wonderful as they dreamed?
The main problem for the couple seems to be a sense of boredom. Frank sleeps with a young secretary from the office, then promptly leaves her sitting on her bed, smoking a cigarette. I took this scene, as well as their conversation in a restaurant, to be revealing. Frank confided in this woman his fear that he has become his father, working for the same company, stuck in the same dead-end job. Perhaps his sleeping with her also means that he’s beginning to feel that he’s stuck in a similar dead-end in his marriage?
When April admits, a little perturbed that her husband didn’t notice any change in her emotional state, that she is pregnant, Frank is visibly upset. They have a heated argument, in which April asks, “Do you really want another child?” after he discovers the brown tube in a papter bag.
While Frank dodges the question of wanting a third child, he also cannot comprehend the alternative: a secret (and in his eyes taboo) abortion.
The tension between the Wheeler’s grows. Frank nearly hits his wife in anger and moral frustration. The young man who struggles with mental illness and recieved electro shock therapy insults Frank and his wife, which causes him to be shown the door–his poor parents coaxing him hastily out of the house.
April must confess to her children that, unfortunately, they won’t be going to Paris. As she explains this to her young son and daughter in the front yard, Frank watches from the living room window.
Frank and April have another fierce row, which results in April threatening to scream–and runs off into the woods just across the road from their faux-perfect life, their perfect home. The mind-boggling part about this scene is that Frank isn’t willing to listen to his wife, he’s unable to bring himself to hear her out. (If I remember correctly, their fight is about her wanting to have the abortion. At one point, during one of their many fights, Frank threatens to have his wife committed to an institution, where she would undergo the same electro shock therapy “treatment” as John did.)
Frank retreats to the house, unable to convince his wife to come back inside. He sits in the dark, drinking straight liquor, anxious and unable to control the situation.
Eventually, he passes out on the bed. When he awakes, its morning. April is dressed, having made a big, beautiful breakfast. In fact, it’s a big day for Frank: he’s starting a new position at work, where he’ll work with computers. April is the perfect housewife: she asks him about his work, and takes interest in what he’s going to be working on. Frank, who I believe to be in a bit of a shock, looks on with tears glistening in his eyes. It’s also another big day for April: she must choose whether or not she wants to have her abortion.
Frank leaves for work, April wishing him a good day. Then, she retrieves the materials to perform–terrifyingly–her own abortion. She is seen going to the bathroom, laying down a towel, and closes the door, a basin of water in her hands, as well as a gruesome rubber tube.
Frank is called away from the office to the hospital. He learns that his wife and unborn child are dead, for April had complications, in which she began bleeding profusely. He leaves the hospital, in shock, clearly grief-stricken. He runs, sprinting, down the street, heedless of anything else.
Frank moves, with his children, away from Revolutionary Road. A new couple, probably much like the Wheeler’s, move in. Frank’s old co-worker and neighbor volunteer to their guests one evening that he moved to the city, and dotes upon his two children, whom he loves dearly.
In the end, Revolutionary Road is a cautionary tale. Ambitions and dreams do not always come so easily; reality quickly sets in. As for April’s unfortunate death, I find this a symbol of the loss of the Wheeler’s nuclear family, and the death of their outlandish, and probably unrealistic, fantasy of going to live in Paris.
What’s more, Paris also represents a chunk of obtaining (and maintaining) the American Dream. The chance to have a white picket fence is knocked down in the windstorm of April’s death. Paris is an ode to the couple’s youth, their days of opportunity, and can possibly seen as their naïveté–a nice, but wild and irrational, idea.
For me, Frank’s newly renewed devotion to his children is a new beginning, a rebuilding of the fallen picket fence. It’s a subtle sign of hope, despite the bleak circumstances.
I’ve finally read J.R.R. Tolkien’s prelude to his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Of course, I’ve seen most of the films, but reading this classic was a treat. The world that Tolkien gives us is enchanting, and feels very much like a fairy tale to me–but one with a happy ending. (Looking at you, Brothers Grimm.)
It took a while for me to adjust to the way in which Tolkien writes–think of children’s books where the prose goes onto the next page, Yertle the Turtle, style–but as soon as I did, I was enjoying all the insights into Bilbo’s journey.
One thing I enjoyed the most was the humor. Personally, I liked how often Bilbo wished that he was back in his hobbit hole. The funny thing about Bilbo’s longing is that, even while he’s wishing dearly that he was home, he is still having a grand time being out in the wide world. Despite the danger he’s facing, he’s still keeping his feet firmly on solid ground. If he had refused the dwarves and remained in Hobbiton, he wouldn’t have made solid friends with lads like Fili and Kili.
I guess, like a fairy tale, Tolkien is teaching us that in order to fully enjoy–and embrace–life, we must step outside our front doors, stepping onto the Road, not exacting knowing where it will take us.
My last family vacation felt like stepping into the Road. While we knew where we were headed every day, I still felt awe at the sights. I still felt elation knowing that every day would be a new adventure, an uncharted path. Like all good family vacations, I bonded even more deeply with my parents and my sister. (We missed our two dogs, Bogan and Bentley, a lot!) We developed some great memories, and had some pretty funny inside jokes along the way.
Just like Bilbo, I would never have discovered the unfathomable beauty of the Grand Canyon, if I had stayed home. In a way, I am a homebody; when the moment strikes me, I too long for adventure. If I’d stayed home–which was out of the question, of course I wanted to go–I would have never fully grasped the vastness of the Grand Canyon. It’s hard to capture in photographs, no matter how good a camera you have on you. The beauty is inspiring and breathtaking. Because I left the comfort of my home, I have fantastic memories of visiting various national parks, and spending quality time with my family.
Here’s to Bilbo, for leaving his comfy hobbit hole in Bag End:
These past few months, I’ve become obsessed with a little farming game called Stardew Valley. I never played Harvest Moon as a child, but I did watch a friend of mine play it for a bit.
Stardew is about a guy or girl, possibly in their twenties, inheriting their grandfather’s farm. One of the last things your grandfather says to you is that the fast-paced world will become too much for you. When this happens, you are able to go to the farm and live among the residents of Pelican Town.
One thing that I love deeply about this game is the relaxing atmosphere. The pixelated artwork is full of lush trees, bushes, and berries. There is very little violence, which only takes place when you’re in the mines searching for rocks or precious minerals. Even as the game has become busier for me–taking care of chickens and cows and watering my crops–I still feel calm while playing.
The longer I’ve played, the more invested I feel in this imaginary world. I can tell that Concerned Ape–the game developer–and Chucklefish did a really good job, because I find the animals utterly adorable. They also act like real animals, too: the cows moo, and my dog will wag his tail furiously when he’s by me.
I’m excited to expand upon my knowledge of this wonderful world, a place where I feel closer to nature.
Hello there! My name is Meghan B. Welcome to The Nerdy Nook, a place that’s much like a book-nook. This is a safe space for everyone who comes here, a place where you can connect with me and be yourself. This is mostly a book blog, but I also write about music I listen to, films I love, movies and TV shows I’ve watched, knitting projects I’m working on, plays I’ve seen, and occasionally post poems and my personal thoughts.
The Nerdy Nook is my second, but official, blog. (My very first blog is still up for viewing purposes. My first blog–On the Prairie–catalogs my attempts at figuring out how to blog. In learning how to blog, I wrote my years in college, books I was reading at the time, and other topics that interested me, like music.)
Overall, this blog is my way of sharing my passions with other people.
Thus The Nerdy Nook was born.
This second blog is the perfect place for me to strengthen my writing skills, and to write about my interests and hobbies. I want to continue to reach out to other people, and make those special connections with others.
I also humbly and happily accept any awards that people might happen to send my way.
Past awards from On the Prairie:
Versatile Blogger (awarded January 2015)
Liebster (awarded February 2015)
Sisterhood of the World (awarded May 2015)
I’m a proud Minnesotan, the land of 10,000 lakes (I do occasionally eat hot dish, we get lots of snow, and of course there’s the very real long Minnesotan goodbye that takes place when I visit my cousins or grandparents)
my favorite color is blue, all shades of blue
I love to write, and enjoy writing novels in fantasy or sci-fi worlds. I also write free-verse poetry
I love finding poetry out in the “wild,” in the everyday world we live in (poetry–for me–can be found in music, in books, in everyday conversations…)
I love to go hiking in the mountains, especially in Colorado
I graduated with my BA in English from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2015
I’ve got way too many fandoms to count, so here’s my short top list: Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, Mindhunter, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, & Supernatural
my dream job? Writing creatively for a company
my all-time favorite band is Blue October, an alternative rock group based out of Texas
I love to read, write, knit, color, and play video games. A few of my favorite games are listed below