Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #54: Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Number of pages: 326

This is the first in a series of books revolving around the character Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, which I had been meaning to get into for a few years.

I wasn't sure about this book initially; first off, the writing style took a while to get used to. Not only was the book entirely written in the present tense, which I often find offputting, but it was quite long-winded at times, so a simple event would be padded out to several pages, just by focusing on the characters' internal thoughts and feelings.

Secondly, I wasn't sure if I was meant to like the character of Rabbit; he seemed quite nasty in places. So, the book started with Rabbit making a sudden decision to walk out on his alcoholic wife, and his two-year old son, and a series of events led him to move into the house of another woman living in the same town (allegedly a prostitute). In fact, she didn't even want him coming into her house; Rabbit was effectively talking her into letting him stay.

This was another book where very little seemed to happen, but it started to grow on me, especially as I wanted to know if there was any future for Rabbit and his wife. Also, I noticed that the amount of drama picked up significantly towards the end.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

When Rabbit walked out on his wife, she was pregnant, and half way through the book, she gave birth to her baby; this led to Rabbit returning to her, only for her to accidentally drown the baby in the bath while drunk. This led to Rabbit blaming her for the baby's death, and leaving her again.

As for the ending of the book, I started guessing a few pages beforehand what would happen, and without giving too much away, it did involve Rabbit having to make a choice between his wife and the other woman who he had moved in with earlier in the book, but I won't give away what decision he made here. It did, however, leave me compelled to read the other four books in the series at some point.

I'd recommend trying this book; it feels daunting at first, but the plot is relatively simple to follow; it was written in 1960, so expect a few politically incorrect moments.

Next book: Elevator Pitch (Linwood Barclay)
Tags: book review, drama, fiction, grief, modern classic, modern lit, non-genre fiction, parenting, period fiction (20th century)

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