Sarra's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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Aug 25, 07

bookshelves: bookcrossing, 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die, 2007
Read in August, 2007

Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school, now he's married to his high school sweetheart who he thinks is boring, they have one child and another on the way. His life is lackluster, he's a salesman for a kitchen gadget, certainly not what he expected when he was a star. One day after a particularly unsatisfying exchange with his wife, he decides to run away. After a brief meeting with his old coach, he ends up moving in with a good-time girl named Ruth. There he lives for about three months, until the night his wife gives birth, when he goes back to her. Ultimately, he finds himself unsatisfied again, and returns to Ruth who gives him an ultimatum. His wife freaks out that he has left her again, and tragedy ensues. At the end of the novel we find Harry on the run from his life and responsibilities yet again.

I found Harry to be a particularly distasteful character. In the middle of the novel when Ruth asks him "You're so smug is what gets me. Don't you ever think you're going to have to pay a price" Harry responds "If you have the guts to be yourself other people pay your price". And that's the philosophy he works with, to do whatever he wants and let everyone else pick up the pieces. For some reason Harry considers himself quite the lothario and thinks that every woman he meets is lusting for him. This does not ingratiate him with the wife of the minister who is trying to help him return to his family, when he takes an innocent suggestion that he come in for a cold drink as if she were making a pass at him. Harry is smarmy, weasely and has a completely flawed character. The entire book is like a train wreck, it's hard to look away, as you're wondering what mess he's going to get himself into the next time.

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