Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rabbit, Run” as Want to Read:
Rabbit, Run
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom #1)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  33,063 ratings  ·  2,055 reviews
Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification an ...more
Paperback, Reprint, 249 pages
Published April 1973 by Penguin Books (first published 1960)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rabbit, Run, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rabbit, Run

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kemper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shovelmonkey1
Jul 21, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to see teenage angst plus ten years
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list but not Kemper
I'm sorry I think I might have to pause before the start of this review and scream discretely into a pillow:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Phew, that's better, very cathartic. This is yet another book from the 1001 books list which has made me question whether or not the people who write the list actually like people who read books or if they are really secretly intent on torturing us all for their own amusement?

The review w
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Get over it! Pull up your socks and get on with it! Sheez.

Book Circle Reads 96

Rating: 2.5* of five

The Book Description: Penguin's bumf--Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his — or any other — generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual g
...more
brian
bellow's writing blows my mind but rarely touches my heart. a handful of mailer's essays and novels are essential, but it's his guts and brain and balls and heart and the ferocity with which he lived life that's the real inspiration. roth? well, i've made my views on roth very well known in bookface world. and the few updike short stories i've read only convinced me that his elegant & writerly style really bugs the shit out of me.

all of 'em (bellow, mailer, roth, updike) found themselves as
...more
Steve Sckenda
Former high school basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom sells kitchen gadgets called the “MagiPeels” in five and dime stores- “a noble profession.” At 26, Rabbit feels trapped in his marriage to Janice, with whom he has 2-year old son, Nelson. Now, Janice is pregnant again. “She stands up and her pregnancy infuriates him with its look of stubborn lumpiness. Just yesterday, it seems to him, she stopped being pretty.” Like Rabbit, Janice is disillusioned with marriage and attempts to stuff her ...more
j
You know what would be nice, is if there was a wikipedia for life, and every time you met someone, you could just give it a glance and see if, you know, you really want to be associated with that person.

Sure, it would backfire, it would reveal your prejudices and narrow-mindedness, your circle of friends might become a lot less varied and interesting. On the other hand, you'd never have to fake a conversation about football again, and you could easily avoid the total assholes like Rabbit Angstr
...more
Alan
I discovered Rabbit Angstrom and John Updike while sitting in the Intensive Care Waiting Room at a local hospital. My mother languished in a coma for one month before she finally found peace, and I spent most of those days and many of my nights in that waiting room. During much of that time I'd blown through typical waiting room crap like books with plots about overthrowing the government, stories about detectives who were psychoanalysts, stories about psychoanalysts who were detectives, etc. On ...more
Ben
On the surface, Rabbit, Run is about a guy who runs around on his son and pregnant wife, and ends up living with a prostitute. Real interesting, right? Actually, yes. Because the characters come to life and they’re struggling with their own moral weaknesses and existential problems -- their problems and interactions are truly believable. So this is an interesting story, because Updike can write, and he pulls it off.

But first, I must explain why my rating is only 3 stars (or, 3 and a half, really
...more
Erin
If it's hard to love a book when you dislike the hero, it's harder still when the book leaves you cursing the nature of humanity.

I hate John Updike right now.

I hate him as an idealistic dreamer, for making me remember how ugly we are – all of us humans with our selfish hearts and boring thoughts, our fractious flaws, and our suffocating sense of doom and exceptionalism.

I hate him as a woman, for cringe-worthy moments of misogyny, for the distancing male sexual fixation, and for making me wonder
...more
Rebecca Waller
Apr 11, 2007 Rebecca Waller rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers looking for writing inspiration
John Updike has a very non-traditional interpretation of redemption, and you find that in his main character, Harry Angstrom, also known as Rabbit. In this first Rabbit novel, he is 26, and he finds himself in crisis about where his life is headed. I found myself loving Rabbit and sympathizing with him (mostly), but also hating him and hating his choices. As a friend once put it to me, "He is Holden Caulfield grown up." It is a painful and powerful book. The writing is delicious, and I have neve ...more
Manny
Guys are like that. Why blame Updike?
MJ Nicholls
Something of a masterpiece, this first in the trilogy of five explores the universal themes of domestic humdrummery, fidelity, and the repercussions of discarded dreams. The titular Rabbit is a compelling portrayal of a now somewhat stock character, the coulda-been-a-contender (in this case basketball) bounced into a life of McJobs, dowdy small-town wives, and unwanted children. Updike’s novel is the best depiction of this soap-opera conceit I have read: he transforms every banal scene into some ...more
Laura
Jun 02, 2008 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
For the three days since I've finished this book I've been going back and forth about whether this is 5 stars, or 4, or 3. Part of the problem is John Updike himself. Liking him as a writer somehow feels politically incorrect. Even mentioning him in mixed company gets glances, "you're reading HIM?" The Rabbit books have always had an aura of ho hum who cares to me. I'd hear Rabbit blah blah and tune it out like it's hockey. I knew Updike was competent, certainly anyone picking up a random issue ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #48: Rabbit, Run (1960), by John Updike

The story in a nutshell:
(Much of today's recap was culled from Wikipedia, for reasons that are explained below.)

Released
...more
Yulia
Damn Updike, I wanted to find an immediate reason to dislike this, but he's so smooth in his text, I have no excuse to not continue reading it: it's very frustrating for us curmudgeons.

*********************************************************

Okay, that didn't last long. I refuse to finish this book. I find the prose self-indulgent, the understanding of human nature self-serving, and the protagonist impossible to empathize with. Would reading this book help me understand individuals I find narci
...more
James
Essentially a perfect novel. Part morality tale, part coming-of-age story, written with a Flaubertian attention to detail and a Nabokovian exuberance and poetic intensity. It's hard not to see this novel as a Job-story, a corrective dose of reality written in the wake of the break(ing)down of the American consumerist dream: the myth-makers' promised land shattered into discreet vignettes of incompatible ideals and rusting physical perfections. Updike has a Shakespearian ability to infuse sophist ...more
Caroline
***ALL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW ARE HIDDEN***

Never have I read a book with a more unlikable main character. Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom is a married man with a toddler son who despises his wife and (view spoiler). At least, that’s as much as I know. Maybe (view spoiler). This book is so insufferable I abandoned it at page 134 (out of 264 pages), and I have no
...more
Jim
Holy Hannah! I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one. Actually, this is my first Updike book, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Not that it was a pleasant read, necessarily; it may be the only book I've ever read where all the major characters had serious flaws. Rabbit (Harry Angstrom) is immature, irresponsible, selfish and narcissistic, and those are just his best qualities! He's oversexed, his wife is a frigid drunk, and you don't need a crystal ball to see where this one's h ...more
Steve
Rabbit is one of the most reprehensible characters in literature. Updike is a great writer, and knew what he was doing when he created this jerk. So just what was Updike up to? I'm not totally sure, since I'm still chewing over this. I've seen a lot of comments about Rabbit being some sort of Everyman. I don't see that at all. This guy is as worthless as it gets. He's nearly the complete shit package, though he's oddly fastidious when it comes to smoking and drinking. Maybe Updike did that to un ...more
Robert
Since the first time I read this book years ago, I bet I haven't gone 24 hours without thinking about it in some way. It's not my favorite book in the series, but it's the emotionally rawest thing I've ever read. A recurring image in the book is that of things spilling over, appropriate for a novel in which the title character's frustration with his life can no longer be contained. Updike chronicles the caustic results caused by Rabbit's inner restlessness that surfaces, then boils over, when he ...more
Marvin
To those who gave this book bad reviews because they hate Rabbit. YOU"RE SUPPOSED TO HATE RABBIT!!! He is everything bad about post-modern culture and the American dream. Updike's brilliant novel is supposed to spit in your face. It may seem a little dated now but Updike caught the neuroses and turmoil of middle class 20th century American perfectly. I don't know. Maybe we are not even meant to enjoy this novel. Some great novels are not meant to entertain but to inform and enlighten. This is on ...more
Alex
Rabbit's a really nuanced character. He's such a dipshit, and he's so unaware of what a dipshit he is.

Authors spend so much time trying to get inside the heads of their characters, right? To figure out how they work. And here's Updike setting himself an incredibly difficult challenge: he has to get us inside Rabbit's head even though Rabbit himself isn't there. He's completely lacking in self-awareness. We want to root for him; he's a likable guy. But we slowly realize that he's got issues, and
...more
Rebecca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vanessa
I've always hated the sort of "adult literary fiction" which deals with, mainly, unhappy marriages and adultery and gives a picture of a sort of two-dimensional world of unrelenting bleakness where no one is ever just decent to each other. This is the country where Rabbit, Run takes place, and it's always been an unrecognizable country to me, this place where "adult literary authors" live. Perhaps it's just my naturally cheerful and upbeat nature that makes such so-called darkness seem just sort ...more
Mike
I confess I haven't read much of John Updike's work. About thirty years ago I flipped through "Couples" for the prurient interest it sparked at its publication. I laughed through "The Witches of Eastwick"--the movie, not the book. But I never read any of Updike's Rabbit Angstrom novels. My well read neighbor who is also a former professor of psychology who taught me History and Systems of Psychology recently told me I had missed out on some fine writing by neglecting Updike, particularly the Rab ...more
Steve
Rabbit Angstrom is appropriately named. For one thing, he’s a bit of a hare-brain. But it’s more about how he flits from one matter to another, twitching his nose a few times at something or someone (often a sex partner/object) before moving on to his next passing fancy. At times he’s capable of reflection, though he’s typically at a loss for how forces he misperceives to be random dictate his circumstances. Construing his psyche, he has a rabbit’s concept of the super-ego, i.e., very little. I ...more
Scoobs


"Everybody who tells you how to act has whisky on their breath."

"He wonders, is it just these people I'm outside or is it all America?"

"He wonders why there are so many signs coming back and so few going down."

Rabbit, Run has now taken a very special space on my pretty short list of Greatest American Novels. Pretty high up there. Perhaps if I wasn't raised in Salinas, John Updike may even eclipse John Steinbeck on my favorite author's list.

I have a feeling if I would have read this book at any o
...more
dead letter office
oh boy, i have issues with john updike. he has all the goody-goody provincialism that drives me crazy about john irving, without the (debatable) benefit of the quirky plots. check out his motivation for writing Rabbit, Run: "Jack Kerouac’s On the Road came out in 1957 and, without reading it, I resented its apparent instruction to cut loose; Rabbit, Run was meant to be a realistic demonstration of what happens when a young American family man goes on the road – the people left behind get hurt." ...more
Andrew
Updike's writing is like little points of light. That's all I could think of as I read. The man has fucking STYLE.

I have to say that his fellow travelers were almost all better architects of plot and character-- Roth, Yates, and Cheever all spring to mind-- but Updike is such a fantastic stylist that I can't hate. And he's funny-- like laugh-out-loud funny at points. Because despite the theological elements and the dark vision of the decline of the American dream and the finely crafted literary
...more
Ron Charles
This is one of my favorite novels of all time.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Rabbit, Run 22 198 May 09, 2015 03:02PM  
Critical American...: Rabbit, Run by John Updike 3 15 Jul 18, 2014 01:35PM  
philip roth (satires) 2 17 Apr 29, 2014 01:47PM  
  • Dog Soldiers
  • The Assistant
  • Falconer
  • The Man Who Loved Children
  • The Recognitions
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement
  • The Sportswriter
  • The Adventures of Augie March
  • Loving
  • Appointment in Samarra
  • Under the Net
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner
  • At Swim-Two-Birds
  • The Day of the Locust
  • The Sot-Weed Factor
  • A House for Mr Biswas
  • Call It Sleep
  • An American Tragedy
6878
John Hoyer Updike (born March 18, 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania) was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for hi ...more
More about John Updike...

Other Books in the Series

Rabbit Angstrom (4 books)
  • Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4)
Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4) Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3) Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2) The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick, #1) Couples

Share This Book

46 trivia questions
2 quizzes
More quizzes & trivia...
“If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price.” 127 likes
“Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath.” 58 likes
More quotes…