Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Published: 1960

Genre: fiction

Length: 264 pages

Setting: Mount Judge, a small town in Pennsylvania, 1950s

Interest: It was one of the Time top 100 books. Plus, I enjoy Updike’s writing and this starts a four-book series about the main character, Rabbit.

Summary: Rabbit (otherwise known as Harry) decides one night, on the way to pick up his son, to leave his wife, Janice. He takes the car and starts to drive south. He doesn’t get very far before turning back. Rabbit hooks up with his old basketball coach who takes him out with a couple of amateur hookers. Rabbit shacks up with one of them, Ruth, for a couple of months. He only goes back to Janice when she has his daughter, Rebecca. Everything is OK until Janice comes home from the hospital with the baby. Harry walks out again, Janice goes on a bender and drowns the baby. He comes back for the funeral, but walks out again immediately after.

Final thoughts: It’s a good thing this wasn’t the first Updike book I read or I would never have tried the other books I enjoyed. I was not impressed with Rabbit. He just walked out on his responsibilities and yet everything turned out fine for him (well, except for the fact that his baby drowned while his wife was drunk). It’s a great example of what John Scalzi calls the “Lowest Difficulty Setting” for straight white males.

Title comes from: Rabbit was the nickname of the main character and throughout the book, he just runs away from his family. And yet, they always take him back.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None, since this is a review of a book read in a previous year.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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