Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1) Rabbit, Run discussion

Rabbit, Run

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Teresa Papoutsis I did not give this classic five stars as I found it depressing. I know that how Rabbit behaved in the book is an example of real life thinking, it still depressed me.

Terri I loved this book, particularly the flaws of the 'hero', Rabbit. He does not become more likeable in the sequals - I found he became less so. The Rabbit novels have definitely not aged that well.

Jessica I really disliked this book. Rabbit was such a complete loser with no redeeming qualities and I had a hard time understanding why all those women were attracted to him at all. His wife was even more depressing.It is my understanding that this was so popular when it came out because of the "graphic" sex scenes especially those involving the blow job. I am wondering if the fact that those parts of the book are no longer taboo effected it's popularity. I am also curious if men tend to like this book more than women? If so what does that say about the men who like this book?

Hadi when reading this book, we need to put it in context. It is not only about the life of an ordinary man. The story of this book and the other three titles that came after it is about how the American society began to transform. Each one of the four Rabbit books covers a whole decade through the ups and downs of the life of an ordinary man. I enjoyed the book and the other three sequels very much.

message 5: by Sheila (last edited Apr 24, 2012 07:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sheila My own reactions to Rabbit, Run were so extreme that I vowed to pass on every one of the sequels although I'll be among the first to proclaim its brilliance.

I don't think Updike meant for Harry to be a sympathetic character or one to be admired. I did admire the way Janice was written - a woman torn and worn down between aging, critical parents and a thoughtlessly cruel husband; and the mind-deadening tedium and exhaustion wrought by the birth of her last child.

I think Updike writes with such understanding of (and empathy for) the characters and their motivations that it more than makes up for the despair of the story itself. At least this one, even if it's not enough to make me want to go back for more.

message 6: by Riko (last edited Jul 14, 2012 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Riko Stan Jessica wrote: "I really disliked this book. Rabbit was such a complete loser with no redeeming qualities and I had a hard time understanding why all those women were attracted to him at all. His wife was even mor..."

Rabbit is not somebody you look up too. He is an anti-hero who has more (and deeper) flaws than most of us. Just because a man might like the book, doesn't mean he is evil and wants to be like Rabbit. It doesn't even mean we can justify his actions or relate to those actions. In fact what I took away from the book was that I am pretty lucky to have the people(both men and women) in my life that I do. That my actions are partly shaped by having these type of people around me.
What does it say about the women who like the book?

I know it's popular today to enjoying sowing division, but if people would stop and think about what they are saying and actually put themselves in each others shoes.... show a sense of empathy, we wouldn't have as many problems as we do.

We have far more in common than we do our differences.

Chris Hill I think this is a book about a real person - the good and the bad in him - that's true of Rabbit's whole life as he develops across the series. Something uplifting about the book however is the quality of the writing - it is beautiful from the very first paragraph onwards, a true work of art

Mark Rubinstein I agree with Chris; Rabbit Angstrom is a deeply flawed person as are most of us to one or another extent. What struck me most deeply about this novel and the others in the Rabbit series, was the powr of the writing. Updike's use of descriptive prose is mind-boggling. He paints pictures so vividly and with such artistry, the scenes seem to leap from the page. The Rabbit books (all of them) are novels in which the writing is so rich, at times, the actual characters and plots almost beoome secondary, at least they did for me at times.

Margaret Yes, I agree with Mark...every word...

message 10: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Rubinstein I really agree with Hadi and Chris. It's very important to keep in mind that Updike was covering a specific decade in each book. I think he meant for Rabbit to be emblematic of each decade, so we should look at him as more than a single, specific character (although he certainly is one; but we should also be aware of what he represents. Yes, there was good, and evil, duplicity, narcissism, sensitivity, and a host of other traits (good and not-so-great) in Rabbit's personality. But I think Updike was trying to do more than just tell the story of one man and his travails. It's easy to forget that because the character was so compelling and some of Rabbit's quirks and foibles were so extreme. Context is important, ever more so in this outstanding quartet of novels.

message 11: by Sam (last edited Oct 07, 2012 03:52PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sam Updike certainly writes some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read, but i find his stories boring and uninvolving. That was certainly the case with this novel, I just couldn't get why the characters were interesting at all. The story only became involving after the 'baby in the bath incident' but by that point it was too late.

Margaret Yes, it is hard to get involved with these characters...when Updike appears to be giving his own point of view of the narrowness of this world, the middle-class views, the blue-collar...the reader feels how empty it all is...and it's hard to be involved with emptiness.

message 13: by Sam (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sam I couldn't agree more. I'd be interested to know if it gets any more interesting in Rabbit Redux, but until i have some guarantees that it won’t be as disappointing as the first book i don't think i'll go near it.

message 14: by Taryn (last edited Oct 26, 2012 07:29AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Taryn Rabbit, Run was a strange read for me. Yes the prose was great and yes the vivid imagery at times was astounding (the first drive out of town, Mrs. Smith's garden). I have mentally debated Angstrom's character several times and in the future might need to visit the novel before coming to a concrete conclusion.

Angstrom's inner monologue does nothing to convince me of any compassion whatsoever. His actions are spontaneous it seems, so I comprehend the little to no prior thought before and after. I don't feel as though his character is tangible or real. He never really has consequences for what his choices become or how they affect others. He does have very fond moments with his child, but those aren't redeeming enough for the repeated abandonment. That is unforgivable and only adds to my depise of Angstrom.

I only read the first in the series as part of a book club. I was sickened by Rabbit's story at that time and didn't continue any further reading. However in the future I might consider continuing to see where life leads him and maybe form a more finite opinion of him.

message 15: by Sally (new) - rated it 1 star

Sally I couldn't finish Rabbit,Run. It may be great writing but I felt no connection at all with Rabbit.

Salome I borrowed this book from someone who couldnt finish it and I decided to read it to the last page, but unfortunately with great effort and persistency. Nope I did not like it... found it too depressing although he does write very well!

message 17: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Despite the title, Elmer Fudd did not appear in this book. Bait-and-switch.

Maeve Fagan I have been meaning to read a John Updike novel for years and finally got round to it. I wish I hadn't as I hated most of the characters and disliked the rest. It was touch and go whether I finished it but at the end I had to admit that the quality of writing was very good but because of the characters not a book I could like. I certainly won't be reading the other two in the series.

message 19: by Ilze (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ilze Salome wrote: "I borrowed this book from someone who couldnt finish it and I decided to read it to the last page, but unfortunately with great effort and persistency. Nope I did not like it... found it too depr..."

This will not be about the discussion but the rating - why give a book that you didn't like three stars, when three stars here on Goodreads actually mean: "Liked it"?
Put the mouse pointer over the "rate this book" stars and hold for a moment and you'll see the definition of every rating and every added star.

message 20: by Conrad (last edited Apr 29, 2014 06:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Conrad Johnson How dare anyone read a book anymore that deals with reality and all the pain and suffering that goes with it? I want escapist, pornographic, violent, desensitizing Pollyanish novels that 11 year olds can write.

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