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Rabbit Is Rich Paperback – August 27, 1996
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“Unquestionably Updike’s finest novel . . . Funny and sharp and damnably intelligent.”—The Boston Globe
“Dazzlingly reaffirms Updike’s place as master chronicler of the spiritual maladies and very earthly pleasures of the Middle-American male.”—Vogue
“Rich, funny . . . Updike at the very height of his powers.”—New York magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
It's hard not to recommend reading this book even though reading it is really not an enjoyable experience. Rabbit evoked powerful emotions in this reader - especially anger and depression; maybe a little anxiety. You are almost guaranteed to feel worse after you read this book - especially if you can identify with any part Angstrom's angst. On the other hand, the mature reader (er, middle-aged) who has experienced the fullness of life's sorrows may sort of shrug at Rabbit as if to say 'what did you expect from life? Pull yourself together, son.'
Read at your own risk.
Leaving the house to pick up his son, he impulsively drives from his Pennsylvania home to West Viriginia. He wants to run to the sunny shores of Florida to live the life he feels he deserves. Surely a man like Rabbit deserves more in life, or so he imagines. Unable to complete this journey, he runs to his former coach, a tired and washed-up man who introduces him to a part-time prostitute. Rabbit moves in with Ruth that very night and they begin a relationship they flaunt and thus humiliate his very pregnant wife and both sets of parents.
Is there an ounce of unselfishness in Rabbit? The reader may think so when he returns to his wife the night she goes into labor. Their reunion is bittersweet and because in large part of Rabbit's inability to see beyond his own needs, their reunion burst apart in a senseless tragedy that is horrific but so beautifully written the reader is glued to the page hoping against hope this terrible thing is not happening.
Will Rabbit be able to grow up and realize he is no longer the high school hero? Will he be able to comfort his wife, to provide a home for her and his children? Will he forsake Ruth, the hooker who accepts him as he is but is now pregnant with his child? In which direction will Rabbit run this time?Read more ›
The novel is about a former high school basketball star, now married, with a family, who is finding his adult life claustrophobic. He misses his youth -- the adrenaline rush of sports, the sense that life is full of possibilities. He doesn't know what to do about it. He tries to make some kind of change, with what's left of his youthful energy. He's self-centered, but he's also a dreamer.
The book is sad, in that it offers no "solution" to the frustration of leaving youth behind. But it's also reassuring and poignant, because the theme is so universal.
Updike manages to keep this apparently ordinary story interesting without being philosophical or tedious. His vivid, compassionate descriptions of characters and their neighborhoods are phenomenal. He has a way of illuminating the inner workings of American optimism (sports heroes, suburban consumer culture) without looking down on it. In fact, he seems to cherish it, focusing his lens on the unspoken dreams that make our society and our personalities what we are.
This book -- along with its sequels -- is one of the great pieces of American literary art.
PS If that's not enough to grab you, read it for Updike's incomparable descriptions of lovemaking. Arrestingly specific and vivid. Only a handful of authors can actually describe sex -- I mean, really describe it -- and show the way people's personalities are played out in bed just like they are anywhere else. The main character is a charismatic, self-absorbed yearner, in search of his lost youth at all times -- even during sex. In Updike's world, sex isn't pornographic -- it's part of life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this book back in the 60's. Just re-read and found that it depressed me. Don't know why. Maybe old age!Published 3 days ago by Donald A. Ziebarth
This is a long established classic and it'd be silly to critique beyond saying "I loved it."Published 11 days ago by MICHAELATX
I had to read this book for a class. The content is mature that includes the lessons that the author pushes at his reader. It makes good adult reading. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Rey
Clicking on "Rabbit Redux" scored by most helpful the first two reviews are for "Rabbit Run" and the third is for "Rabbit is Rich". Read morePublished 20 days ago by CM514 "Chris"
This book was written by John Updike in the late 1950s while he was still in touch with his plebeian roots in small town Pennsylvania. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thomas C. Quinn
Hated Harry Angstrom. I couldn't figure out the point of any of it. Will not be reading the other books in the series.Published 1 month ago by Robert Blake
I enjoyed the first two books in this series and will eventually read the fourth. Things don't look too bright for Harry Angstrom at the end of the second book but jump forward 10... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barry
Another John Updike story which is as enjoyable as any.Published 2 months ago by Mr. N. Curtis Anderholm