Rabbit Is Relevant: a high school student’s review of Rabbit, Run

In the Voices section of the April 3, 2018 Reading Eagle, Oley Valley High School freshman Wesley Martin offered a review of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, a book that, published 57 years ago, must have felt like a relic of the Mark Twain sort. But if Martin is any indicator of his generation, Updike’s celebrated second novel is still relevant . . . in a mixed-bag way.

Rabbit, Run is difficult to get through at parts, but overall it is a thought-provoking and moving novel that I will surely read again as an adult,” Martin writes.

“The best aspect of the book by far was the writing style. Updike is an incredible writer. His descriptions of Rabbit’s dull, suburban word are usually clear and elegant, but sometimes he goes overboard. Most of the characters’ natures and motivations are well fleshed out and realistic, though I found many of the women to be one-dimensional.

“Though Rabbit is very unlikable, I found his struggle to find some kind of meaning in his adult life with his best days behind him very tragic and fascinating. Updike is excellent at making the reader feel sorry for a man who makes terrible decisions,” Martin writes.

In the words of this young man, the novel followed Rabbit “through a series of foolish, spur-of-the-moment decisions. It is an occasionally comical, often cringe-inducing story” because of the “treatment of women,” which Martin says was “very difficult for me to stomach.” Maybe that accounts for the B+ he gave the book, rather than an A. Here’s a link to the online version.

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