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Rabbit Is Rich Paperback – August 27, 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 409 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Rabbit Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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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12 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rabbit (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reissue edition (August 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (409 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a Great Book - it must be - the NYT and other literary experts say so. Rabbit's life is awful - his wife's a drunk, his job sucks, nothing is really what he thought life would be. He tries to run away and fails at that too. According to Time magazine, Rabbit Angstrom is "an unflinchingly authentic specimen of American manhood". Yikes! Let's hope not - but maybe there is more truth in it than one likes to admit.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom was a high school superstar only a handful of years ago. Now he is a young married father, trapped in the suburban 60's, unhappy with a cluttered house, a drunken wife, and a son who will never be the athlete he was. Will this former basketball star find a way to make his life better, or will he run like a rabbit? The title says it all and Harry Angstrom does indeed run whenever things don't go his way.

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?
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Format: Paperback
I always find it interesting that in a lot of extended series of novels, the first book tends to be compact and to the point, while later novels tend to be more sprawling and expanded. Glancing over my line of Updike's Rabbit novels, of which this is the first, that seems to be the case, but time will tell whether those later books successfully trade the taut intensity of this novel for a more spacious feel. The Rabbit novels take up four books, all tracing the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a man growing up in the latter part of the twentieth century, with each book taking place in a different decade, highlighting not only the changes in Harry but the changes in the country itself as it winds through the crazy years of the 1900's. This book takes place in the early fifties or late sixties and introduces us to the man himself, Rabbit, who does his best to fulfill the verb embedded in the title and run as far as he can. Harry feels trapped in his marriage, with a three year old already present and his wife heavily pregnant and drinking all the time, he takes a look at his dreary life and wigs out, trying to drive as far away as he can before coming back and attempting to find himself, with increasingly flailing results. His quests lead him to encounter a priest, a prostitute, an old coach and his parents and in-laws, all of whom have advice and none of which seem to have the right advice. So Harry tries to forge his own way but that might not be right either.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
What makes "Rabbit, Run" such a staggering masterpiece is -- paradoxically -- its very ordinariness.
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.
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