Frank's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books-you-must-read
Read in February, 2009

It's the story of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a middle class man living in a small Pennsylvania town in the late 1950s (published in 1960). Rabbit feels trapped in his life with a pregnant wife who drinks, and a young son to support, living in a cheap apartment. On impulse, Rabbit leaves his life and runs -- first to West Virgina and then back to his home town. He moves in with Ruth - a sometimes prostitute -- and goes back to his wife when she has their second child. Tragedy ensues and Rabbit ends up running again. This was a very realistic look at life during the 50s. It's a very American point of view. Updike's prose is eloquent but his sentences are sometimes long and seem to run together -- he also uses a lot of metaphors and is very descriptive. This is the first of 4 novels about Rabbit written at 10-year intervals. This one ended kind of abruptly and it made me want to find out what happens to Rabbit in the ensuing years. I have a copy of Rabbit Redux which I will probably read soon. Overall, I would recommend this novel but it is definitely a downer look at life -- it does not describe the idealistic small-town American life in the 1950's as portrayed in "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" -- this book shows a much more realistic view of it.

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