Saturday, October 15, 2011
Review of Rabbit, Run
Author: John Updike
First published in 1960
Thickness: 272 pages
Personal rating: 3 stars
Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run—from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back.... (www.goodreads.com)
My two cents
I'm not sure how to classify Rabbit Run. Clearly written from the perspective of the selfish 'Rabbit' Angstrom, it points out flaws in his character which I couldn't place in this time anymore.
But since it has been written in the early 60's, a time where women were inclined to follow a man's lead more than in this day and age, I could see this being a very realistic view of marriage in that time.
Of course, Harry is an extreme model of this outdated model of life between man and woman, him being selfishly involved with someone else, abandoning his wife who is expecting their second child. I see in that a reluctance to accept that he isn't the star basket ball player he used to be. He wants to be the best, and he isn't that being a husband and a father.
The part in which they lose their daughter, I shivered, expecting myself and it would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
But it seemed like neither he or his wife truly realised what had happened, and just used the circumstances to find pity and compassion.
Clearly the novel invokes a strong reaction, either positive or negative, although I don't see it being positive in many cases, at least not with female readers.
Even in being dreadfully longwinded at times, I couldn't put it down, wanting to know if he would make the right decision in the end, and when the end came he surprised me in a way I couldn't have forseen.
Being so damnfully seflish, throughout his youth and carrying that on in adulthood, Harry Angstrom is a man caught in the glory years of his highshool basketball years, dreaming of a girl that has moved on while he was away, and he got himself caught with a women he doesn't love or care about in the least.
This century, 50 years after the novel published, we've got a lot of those men walking around, but I think that the women of our day and age are more capable to put it to a stop. We aren't the pavements we used to be, we don't take it when some try to walk all over us.
This novel is just a horrific view into the past, and makes me feel proud that for most of us, it is definitely a thing in the past.