Yulia's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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Apr 16, 2008

bookshelves: repelled-by
Read in June, 2008

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 narcissistic, misogynistic, and narrow-minded? No, because I believe Updike is too shallow to offer us any great insight into either men or women, and I don't care to try harder to understand Updike or Rabbit.

Is Janice "dumb" or does she simply need Rabbit's patriarchal guidance? Does she have wrinkles and thinning hair at 23 or is this the warped vision of a dissatisfied and disappointed husband? Will Rabbit redeem himself and prove to be the hero he was always meant to become? To all these answers, I'm afraid I'll have to remain ignorant.
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06/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Ruth His writing just glides along, doesn't it?

Ruth Maybe you had to have lived through those times.

message 3: by Yulia (new) - added it

Yulia I am sorry to have changed my opinion so forcefully, but I knew there might be a problem from the beginning, when I read some of the comments on the Constant reader discussion of it before getting a copy and found others asking, "What's up with Updike and women?" I guess I have to agree with them and add, "What's up with Updike and men?"

Kelly I understand how you feel about Rabbit ... he is a very difficult character to keep reading about. But Something BIG happens toward the end of the book that really changed my opinion about it all. I hope someday you'll be able to finish it.

message 5: by Yulia (new) - added it

Yulia Hmm, you have gotten me curious now. I may have to read the darn thing after all.

Marco Yes, a number of BIG things happen. It enters into issues of family and religion.

message 7: by Yulia (new) - added it

Yulia Marco wrote: "Yes, a number of BIG things happen. It enters into issues of family and religion. "

Oh dear, I was interested in the family issues, but if Rabbit runs to religion, the book isn't for me.

Marco He doesn't TURN to religion, but it does play a role in his inner-struggle. Are you turned off by all stories with religious characters, or perhaps that that just wouldn't solve that sort of troubled marriage?

message 9: by Yulia (new) - added it

Yulia I just hate when religion comes up as a deus ex machina, so to speak, at the end of a story to solve a character's problems. It's a cop-out, for me, at least, and doesn't resolve the inherent causes of the person's problems. It's like putting makeup on a scar.

So no, I don't avoid books that deal with religion, but I dislike books where religion is the "answer."

message 10: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Weyek I agree with you that the prose is self indulgent with his gratuitous similes and metaphors. I find it painful.

Caroline I think we may overuse the word "waste of time" to describe books we didn't like, but RR is one instance of a book that genuinely is an utter waste of time. You've missed out on nothing by abandoning it. There's nothing wrong with unlikable narrators--I've enjoyed many--but there does need to be something readers can sympathize with, something to explain why a jerky character would behave the way he does. There's no understanding this man. He's just a jackass, plain and simple.

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