Keith's Reviews > Rabbit Is Rich

Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
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's review
Jun 29, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: modern-literature, x-one-dollar, pop-culture, a-pulitzer, america, _gone
Read from December 20, 2014 to January 19, 2015 , read count: 1

By this point in the series, Updike is well-established as more than a mere writer of scandalous pot-boilers, and having made is this far through the series I think I can see why he got the Pulitzer. Between his increasing comfort in finding his voice, and my acclimating to his style over 600 pages, the prose style here is taut, and I felt like I could really see into Harry's mind, though that remains a fairly awful place to be looking, like under the bed of some teenage boy who has only just discovered new ways to make his gym socks even more disgusting.

It should be borne in mind, however, that despite its prize and arguable stature as literature of a sort, this volume in particular is in no way suitable for public high school curricula unless as an instructor you are looking for a fight, if not a lynching. This one gets basically pornographic: not for long, nor in excessively graphic detail—this is not the fapping material of Penthouse Letters—but (view spoiler).

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Quotes Keith Liked

John Updike
“The world keeps ending but new people too dumb to know it keep showing up as if the fun's just started.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“His gray suit makes him seem extra vulnerable, in the way of children placed in unaccustomed clothes for ceremonies they don't understand.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“As long as Nelson was socked into baseball statistics or that guitar or even the rock records that threaded their sound through all the fibers of the house, his occupation of the room down the hall was no more uncomfortable than the persistence of Rabbit's own childhood in an annex of his brain; but when the stuff with hormones and girls and cars and beers began, Harry wanted out of fatherhood.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“Slim is queer and though Nelson isn't supposed to mind that he does. He also minds that there are a couple of slick blacks making it at the party and that one little white girl with that grayish kind of sharp-chinned Polack face from the south side of Brewer took off her shirt while dancing even though she has no tits to speak of and now sits in the kitchen with still bare tits getting herself sick on Southern Comfort and Pepsi. At these parties someone is always in the bathroom being sick or giving themselves a hit or a snort and Nelson minds this too. He doesn't mind any of it very much, he's just tired of being young. There's so much wasted energy to it.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“He sees now that he is rich that these were the [shore] outings of the poor, ending in sunburn and stomach upset. Pop liked crabcakes and baked oysters but could never eat them without throwing up. When the Model A was tucked into the garage and little Mim tucked into bed Harry could hear his father vomiting in a far corner of the yard. He never complained about vomiting or about work, they were just things you had to do, one more regularly than the other.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“When he was about twelve or thirteen he walked into his parents' bedroom in the half-house on Jackson Road not expecting his father to be there, and the old man was standing in front of his bureau in just socks and an undershirt, innocently fishing in a drawer for his undershorts, that boxer style that always looked sad and dreary to Harry anyway, and here was his father's bare behind, such white buttocks, limp and hairless, mute and helpless flesh that squeezed out shit once a day and otherwise hung there in the world like linen that hadn't been ironed....”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“He sounds to himself, saying this, like an impersonator; life, just as we first thought, is playing grownup.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

John Updike
“The voice welling up out of this little man is terrific, Harry had noticed it at the house, but here, in the nearly empty church, echoing off the walnut knobs and memorial plaques and high arched rafters, beneath the tall central window of Jesus taking off into the sky with a pack of pastel apostles for a launching pad, the timbre is doubled, richer, with a rounded sorrowful something Rabbit hadn't noticed hitherto, gathering and pressing the straggle of guests into a congregation, subduing any fear that this ceremony might be a farce. Laugh at ministers all you want, they have the words we need to hear, the ones the dead have spoken.”
John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

Reading Progress

12/21/2014 marked as: currently-reading
12/24/2014 page 99
22.0% "Chapter I"
12/27/2014 page 194
43.0% "Chapter II [the last 50 pages were the best writing this series has yet shown]"
01/01/2015 page 291
64.0% "Chapter III"
01/13/2015 page 402
89.0% "Chapter IV"
01/19/2015 page 448
100.0% "Chapter V"
03/16/2015 marked as: read
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