John Updike’s novel “Rabbit, Run” is depressing. I am finding that I can only read a few pages at a time before I am not longer in the mood to read and I put it down. This is making a massive dent in my allotted time to complete this challenge. And I know I said I have to finish every book but this one is paining me! It’s only 264 pages – I should have been able to finish this in one sitting!
Why is it so hard for me to read?
Right now I have no compassion for this man, I have no empathy for him. Excuse my blindness but so far I am reading about a man who looks back to his glorious high-school days and pities the life he has now. Running out on his pregnant wife and child to have sex with a hooker… the thoughts he has and the way he speaks and thinks…. What do I feel for him? He is embodying things I hate.
John Updike evokes incredibly moving imagery, he is a master of vocabulary, twisting simple words into complex thoughts, there is no doubt this is a talented writer. It is the content I’m having an issue with.
I don’t like Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.
I have read a few articles and reviews on the book, so I already know how it ends. I cheated. How naughty of me. But the ending offers no hope for me that I will find solace in finishing it.
This is not a good man, what is the point? This is not an extraordinary tale. It seems to be very ordinary at this point. Perhaps that is my problem – am I putting too pressure on books? Am I asking too much? Or asking the wrong thing? Maybe I haven’t read enough of the book yet. This is not the world I want to be whisked away too. I have known people like this man and they are not extraordinary, but weak, and sad and I don’t want to read about it.
If someone can tell me why I should keep reading this, perhaps I will, but for now I am putting a bookmark in Rabbit, Run and moving on.
As far as the challenge goes, I think my above rant does still address some questions I have been posing to myself, as I did in book #40, for example: Rabbit’s character and his conflicts, how engaging I found it to be, what I appreciate about the work (more-so the writer in this case), and thoughts about humanity.
I am disappointed in myself for not (YET) finishing this novel. One day perhaps, when I have another perspective, I will return. Until then, this is a challenge fail.
Next: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, 1890