Mike's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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's review
Dec 30, 08

liked it
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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