Scoobs's Reviews > Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
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Nov 09, 2008

it was amazing

"Everybody who tells you how to act has whisky on their breath."

"He wonders, is it just these people I'm outside or is it all America?"

"He wonders why there are so many signs coming back and so few going down."

Rabbit, Run has now taken a very special space on my pretty short list of Greatest American Novels. Pretty high up there. Perhaps if I wasn't raised in Salinas, John Updike may even eclipse John Steinbeck on my favorite author's list.

I have a feeling if I would have read this book at any other time in my life, I may have hated it. I can't say I relate to Rabbit, but I am on his wavelength. I don't have a wife or kids or too serious of a job or lack of a serious job, I should say. If I did I still wouldn't do what Rabbit does. But I get it. Rabbit is a jerk. He does some pretty horrible things. Is he to blame? Of course. Was there any other way around it? Probably. But not to Rabbit.

Life is short. And Rabbit wants to run. And he does.


"That wonderful way they have of coming forward around you when they want it. Otherwise just fat weight. Funny how the passionate ones are often tight and dry and the slow ones wet. They want you up and hard on their little ledge. The thing is play them until just a touch. You can tell: their skin under the fur gets all loose like a puppy's neck."

"The Mason Dixon line, The schoolroom in which he learned this recurs to him, the rooted desk rows, the scarred varnish, the milky black of the blackboard, the pieces of tight girlish ass packed all up and down the aisles in alphabetical order."

How to save your relationship:

"It was a mess as it was."
"What sort of mess."
"I don't know. My wife's an alcoholic."
"And have you tried to help her?"
"Sure. How?"
"Did you drink with her?"

The Amish:

"No underpants. Fanatics. Worship manure."


"There was you and sometimes the ball and then the hole, the high perfect hole with its pretty skirt of net. It was you, just you and that fringed ring, and sometimes it came right down to your lips it seemed and sometimes it stayed away, hard and remote and small. It seemed silly for the crowd to applaud or groan over what you had already felt in your fingers or even in your arms as you braced to shoot or for that matter in your eyes: when he was hot he could see the separate threads wound into the strings looping the hoop."
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