United States of Books – Rabbit, Run by John Updike

I think Teri liked this one a little more than I did. A few years back, I read it and threw up a few paragraphs onto Goodreads, which I posted here a while ago. After reading Teri’s more thoughtful review, you might want to check out mine, which I tagged (somewhat aggressively) “Why Would Anyone Read This Willingly.”

Rabbit, RunRabbit, Run

by John Updike

Author: Teri at Sportochick’s Musings


Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty—even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler’s edge.


Throughout the book I kept hoping that Rabbit would find himself and become a man, husband, and father but he just kept getting more confused. It was apparent that this man couldn’t make up his mind about anything and that he would drift forever lost. Also what was abundantly clear was that he had no conscience. He just couldn’t figure out what was right and what was wrong nor would he take responsibly for his part in any of the events that lead to his baby’s death, his wives destructive life, his son’s feeling of loss or his mistresses pregnancy.

Reverend Eccles was the one of two redeeming characters in this book. He tried really hard to help Rabbit but in reality Rabbit starts to lead him astray no matter how hard he continually tries to help. Ruth, his mistress, well she was someone to be admired. She understood who Rabbit was, stood firm and strong about them ending their relationship with her taking care of the baby they would still have.

The book ended just as I thought. Rabbit is so confused. STILL! Bye bye Rabbit! Keep running away from life but realize you will never have one you love till you confront yourself.

I give this 1 star. I just disliked the main character, Rabbit, too much to find any value in this book.


6 thoughts on “United States of Books – Rabbit, Run by John Updike

    • If you think Teri’s was harsh, don’t read mine 🙂 I liked the handful of short works by Updike that I’ve read — (pretty sure I read The A&P for 3 or 4 courses in college, for example. I practically memorized the sucker — and enjoyed it every time). And I know he has a fantastic reputation, but I can’t remember anything positive about the book.


  1. and then Updike wrote two sequels! I tried reading Rabbit Redux but could not convince myself that there was a whole other novel in Rabbit’s life , let alone two. Yet the Critics (the capital C kind) loved all three.


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