Mike's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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Dec 30, 08

Read in December, 2008

Updike is one of the few highly acclaimed post war writers I'd never read. Considering this was written when he was only 28, I can see why he has the reputation he does. Great prose. For me, the book is weakened however by the rather unsympathetic central character, who is a young man who - rejecting the stifling social mores of suburban America in the 1950s - sort of drifts in and out of others' lives based on what "feels right" to him at a particular moment, wreaking havoc on his family and others along the way. It's not entirely clear to me if we're meant to view Rabbit as a kind of romantic Meursault-like figure who is in some way heroic in his rejection of the hypocrisy and "unnatural" quality of civilized existence, but he often comes across to me as merely childish, a kind of walking "id" with no self-control or regard for others. In this respect this book is clearly the work of a young man, and in a sense likely also a product of its time, written in 1960 just as American society was beginning to react against the rigid uniformity of social life in the 50s. Rabbit is in that sense a kind of proto-hippie in the worst sense.
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