Length: 467 pages
Setting: Brewer, Pennsylvania in 1979
Interest: It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner
Summary: As the Arab oil crisis continues, Rabbit’s Toyota dealership is doing pretty well. Harry’s life seems to be on the upswing. He and his wife have joined the newer country club and they like to party with a new set of friends. Then, Nelson comes home from Kent, bringing his friend Melanie. Turns out, Nelson had gotten Pru pregnant back at Kent and he’s come home to take a job selling cars for his father before marrying her. Harry is not pleased to have Nelson back home and working a the lot. He’s also fixated on the possibility that Ruth, his lover for a summer years ago, had a daughter from that relationship. The book ends with Harry and Janey heading to a Caribbean vacation with their new, swinging friends, Nelson running off back to Kent, the baby’s birth, and Harry and Janet moving into their own home.
Final thoughts: I really don’t like Harry Angstrom (no big surprise – I didn’t like him in the last book, either). His relationship with women pretty much revolves around sex. He’s snobbish, bigoted, and wants Nelson nowhere near. I wouldn’t have bothered with the book if it wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner. The sad this is the last book in the series also won a Pulitzer Prize so I have another one to read. Harry doesn’t do much of anything. He just goes along with the flow and hopes things get better. You do get a great snapshot of middle class life during the late 70s, but that doesn’t provide enough for me to enjoy the book.
Title comes from: Harry and Janet are firmly settled in middle age and comfortably well off. Now that they are in the upper middle class, the Angstroms are trying to keep up with the Jones’.
Awards won: National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1982
Reading challenges fulfilled: 58/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, a U in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge, and 6/12 in the Check Off Your Reading List Challenge
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