Shovelmonkey1's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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's review
Jul 21, 11

bookshelves: 1001-books, bookcrossing-books, read-in-2011, so-right-but-so-wrong
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list but not Kemper
Recommended for: anyone who wants to see teenage angst plus ten years
Read from July 07 to 21, 2011, read count: 1

I'm sorry I think I might have to pause before the start of this review and scream discretely into a pillow:


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 will now proceed in the style of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom...

Hello everyone, I'm Harry Angstrom, but you can call me "Rabbit". The name is totally applicable in two ways - in high school basket ball games (I was a sporting ace don'tcha know?) a rabbit is a runner who sets the pace, and since leaving high school I appear to be breeding in a way which is prolific and almost rabbit like too. Some might say I also have a tendency to bounce from thing to thing without really thinking about it. No twitchy nose or whiskers though.

So I had this girl since high school, Janice Springer, and I knocked her up and well, damn it, I'm a fan of the idea of domesticity so I made an honest woman of her and her old man hooked us up with an OK place to live and all and no one was too suspect when little Nelson was born 7 months after the wedding. After all, I'm Rabbit, I'm a breeder... that's what we do!

But y'know how it is. Maybe I'm just not ready to be tied down. Janice drinks, man oh man she drinks and she can be a misery. Nowadays she's so busy looking after the kid she's not interested in me (ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME), not like she should be. I mean, I'm great... a regular swell, the cats pyjamas sewn up around the bees knees. I'm a catch and any woman would be lucky to have me.

So one day I decided that rather than go home to my pregnant wife and two year old kid ,I could pretend that I was still the Rabbit of old, and set out to remove myself a suitable distance from adult responsibility. Turns out that a suitable distance involves moving about ten blocks away in the same town and setting up home with a retired hooker with chunky ankles, while reacquainting myself with a load of people who thought I was great ten years ago. When alls said and done its a nice little ego boost! Don't get me wrong, I think I love her. I mean I am pretty sure I do and she lets me talk about myself a whole lot. Plenty in fact and really that's what it boils down to - self indulgence on a grand scale. I'm a bit uncertain about my direction in life, possibly because of an immature, shallow perspective which doesn't allow me to appreciate other peoples outlooks - maybe I'm a Sociopath? I have no empathy. I like to please myself. End of.

Obviously poor old Janice went and had the baby and man, did it cut me up to think that I might miss out on a whole extra helping of double domesticity so off I went back to Janice without a thought for chunky ankles and my newest domestic set up. After one short night I realised that when the going gets tough then rabbit gets going and promptly bailed again, this time with disastrous consequences. Still I manned up and came home to face what was coming to me, but really I didn't enjoy that much and now I've strapped on my running shoes and am sprinting off into the sunset again as fast as my lucky rabbits feet can carry me. You can catch me in the sequels Rabbit Redux and Rabbit is Rich if you feel like playing with the boundaries of your own sanity, but the subtext will always be that I'm a selfish loser with low self esteem and the attention span of a kitten filled with e-numbers.
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Reading Progress

07/10/2011 page 55
07/12/2011 page 100
38.0% "So far I'm enjoying the writing style but have zero interest in any of the characters. More of a chore than a joy."
07/14/2011 page 130
49.0% "Still not into this and nearly half way through... too much whining!"
07/18/2011 page 180
68.0% "Actually this book is getting better now."
07/18/2011 page 200
76.0% "Nearly there... not so much a run as a marathon slog."
07/20/2011 page 240
91.0% "Aaargh so near the end. This has taken so long to read. Curse you 1001 books list!"

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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message 1: by Gloria (new)

Gloria Mundi Great review. For some reason I always thought that Rabbit, Run was about actual rabbits, Watership Down style.

Shovelmonkey1 I think i might have liked this more if it had been about actual rabbits!

message 3: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch Great review.
Updike seems to have had a unique ability to capture the total egocentricity of 1950's men.
Funny that.

Shovelmonkey1 Ian wrote: "Great review.
Updike seems to have had a unique ability to capture the total egocentricity of 1950's men.
Funny that."

Thanks Ian. I really liked Updike's style of writing and the story made me dislike rabbit and feel pretty ambivalent towards the rest of the male cast. Guess that is what he had in mind all along. Think i'll wait awhile before tackling rabbit redux and rabbit is rich though!

message 5: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Heidin[+]Fisch I haven't read any Updike for ages, but I always assumed that he was pretty arrogant himself. It's made me reluctant to read some of his stuff.

Melinda Very funny! I enjoyed the books (I read all 4 of them bound in a single volume all at once. Sure, it took me almost a month, but I was glad I got to experience Americana through the eyes of an imperfect man. But, yeah, I agree with you, too. Love, love love your review! Did you ever read any of the other Rabbit novels?

Shovelmonkey1 thanks Melinda! Not read any more of the rabbit series yet but they are in my house on the big "to be read" pile. The fact that you enjoyed them gives me great hope for these future reads!

message 8: by Melinda (last edited Nov 26, 2011 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Melinda HI! I'm glad you liked my comment...and I did a little digging and found there is a not-well-known 5th installment of the Rabbit Angstrom series called Rabbit Revisited that is a novella that takes place ten years after Rabbits death where an illegitimate daughter of Harry's shows up and bugs Nelson and Jan.

I actually feel that Run, Rabbit is the weaker of the 4 books. I really loved Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit Redux and they are probably my favorites. I know two of the 4 won Pulitzers, but I do not remember which ones.

I do not believe that we, as the readers, are supposed to like Rabbit. He's a cad, a jerk, bad father, a liar, a drug addict (at one point), an adulterer etc... But as stated before, I loved reading this tidbit of recent American history through an imperfect man's eyes.

But you doing your review the way Harry talks is SO creative and funny. It's one of the best reviews I have seen, anywhere... ~~ML

Kingfan30 Great review :-)

Shovelmonkey1 thank you. So what did you think of this one?

Kingfan30 I'm just about to post my review, although far less eloquently then you!

Shovelmonkey1 Did you like it? I'll read your review too of course.

Kingfan30 I've read worse, but he certainly isn't a nice person and neither are any of the characters come to think of it!

Shovelmonkey1 Agreed. Definitely not my favourite on the 1001 books list.

message 15: by Ben (new)

Ben 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?

As one of those who tackled some of the 1001 books, I must say the same thought crossed my mind several times.

Shovelmonkey1 Yup I'm yet to go back to the rest of the rabbit series. I still have issues after reading the first volume!

Melinda ShovelMonkey: If you do will you please write as funny of a review of the next book as you did of this one? For all of us on GoodReads, we are waiting....

Shovelmonkey1 Thanks and i will do my best although i may have lost my review mojo of late! For other reviews by me in a similar parody style you might want to read my review of robinson crusoe and my review of Saturday

Melinda NOOOOOOOOOOO! we gotta get your mojo back! Just read the next Rabbit book... that will do it, I swear!

Alison Morris love this review!! couldn't agree more! I couldn't even finish it for fear of losing complete faith in humanity. cheers!

Chelsea Hite don't bother with the sequels. they are more of the same plus underage girls and drugs

Shovelmonkey1 Thanks for the comments... got the rest of this series on my shelf. It may remain there indefinitely!

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