Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rabbit Run Updike and the sequels

I've tried this before.  I've always thought I ought to read this famous series.  Frank is reading the first one now and so I thought I'd read with him.

I understand what makes the novel off putting for me.  The character is very self focused and yet I feel like Updike wants us to identify.
For me he was the classic spoiled suburban guy with plenty of good things to enjoy but feeling sorry for himself.  So he runs from his marriage and family.
He has a small boy and another child on the way, and he seeming lack of any concern about them just seemed cold.  He does not seem to miss them or appreciate the pleasure of having children.  In fact, he is one of those fellows who is so much a child himself that he has no real parenting energy.
So impulsively he makes a run.
That seems stupid too.  I left a marriage and it took a long, long time to think it through and plan the departure.  He just goes with a few dollars in his pocket and then hooks up with whomever.
He finds a prostitute who is in my feeling one of the least desirable women in literature.  Somehow he charms her.  The classic feeling that the right kind of lover can reach the cold sexual place of the prostitute and be proud of that is just too much macho crap for me.
Currently, he is forming a rather strange relationship with an Episcopal priest who thinks that playing gold with Rabbit is the way to win him back.
It would all be pretty funny were it not so sad.

Characters include an old coach who is degenerate and weak in memory and any sensitivity although he helps Rabbit a bit, giving him a place to rest and introducing him to the prostitute Ruth.

The sexual scenes were certainly a bit different for the age of the novel, but they really turn me off.  It is the opposite of erotic.  I can see why as a college kid in the age where sex was fun and included relationship would be turned off by this sexual relationship.  And I'm getting that she is now pregnant because neither of them acted to preclude that.  I never quite got the idea of how men and women who were screwing daily could be so unconcerned about possible children.

I got the novel on disc and I like the reader.  Then I have a paperback for when I am home, so the novel goes along well enough.

Perhaps I am just too old.  Perhaps I want everything to be like funny 30's movie where the romance happens between people I like and in the end things work out somehow.  Not a very educated way to filter fictional experience, I guess.
In the end I finished all the Rabbit books and felt much more attached to Rabbit and his issues.  I feel I accomplished a like long goal of reading in doing this even if I have no one to discuss the novels with.

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