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33 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars What 5 stars are for
This book is greatness. It is what five stars are for. Obviously, being the last of the Rabbit series, it is about our hero's demise. There's very little I can say that won't "spoil the ending" for you. The ending is really touching. The author ties it all together. He even closes a loose end about his "other" daughter, letting us know that the...
Published on May 21 2004 by LF

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3.0 out of 5 stars So Long Rabbit
I hate to be a curmudgeon when it comes to Pulitzer Prize winners and great writers like John Updike, but this final installment featuring Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom has flaws that took away my enjoyment of the book.
Clearly Updike uses the characters frequently as mouthpieces to expound on society. Unfortunately, a lot of times it seems very contrived, especially when...
Published on Dec 30 2003 by C. Baker


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5.0 out of 5 stars What 5 stars are for, May 21 2004
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
This book is greatness. It is what five stars are for. Obviously, being the last of the Rabbit series, it is about our hero's demise. There's very little I can say that won't "spoil the ending" for you. The ending is really touching. The author ties it all together. He even closes a loose end about his "other" daughter, letting us know that the girl he met at the car lot, and making a reprise at the hospital, is in fact his own biological daughter. He goes the way he should go. And his wife and son react just right. If you don't appreciate this book, it isn't because there is something lacking in the book, it is because there's something lacking in you. Sorry, but you just missed it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genious at Work, May 1 2004
This review is from: Rabbit At Rest (Hardcover)
When I read this book, I thought of the faults of all human beings but how we all strive to be as good as we can be.
Harry is a very average, and is challenged by a lot of imperfections. Updike is a writer who can take average situations and make them surreal. Harry's angst about his son who is hooked on cocaine, the nature of the car business, and his dull and boring marriage. While being angry at his son's addiction, Harry is addicted to food and the comfort commercial America promises him. As the Publisher's Weekly stated, its about the aborted American dream, or is Updike saying something deeper about American, about its meaningless materialism and about the things we value. This was the best of the Rabbit series. The writing about Harry's slow personal disintegration can be painful to read about, but even more painful, finding some parallels between my life and Harry's.
Reading Updike is like entering a colorful dream world which also urges the soul to consider some grim realities.
Jeffrey McAndrew
author of "Our Brown Eyed Boy"
p.s. Another Updike book I would recommend: "Roger's Version"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but Rabbit Run was Better, April 11 2004
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
Not quite as captivating as "Rabbit Run" but quite excellently written; I guess writing about somebody's slow demise just doesn't lend itself to intense interest, not like the living foibles of a character's life, as you find in "Run." Updike is a master of prose and this is extremely well researched. Very few living people can write fiction as well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So Long Rabbit, Dec 30 2003
By 
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
I hate to be a curmudgeon when it comes to Pulitzer Prize winners and great writers like John Updike, but this final installment featuring Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom has flaws that took away my enjoyment of the book.
Clearly Updike uses the characters frequently as mouthpieces to expound on society. Unfortunately, a lot of times it seems very contrived, especially when coming from characters other than Harry.
The story itself is interesting enough, but meanders and is too long. He could have written the same story in half the number of pages.
The best part about the book is the juxtaposition of Harry's self-righteous anger at his son's addiction-when he himself is addict to food and has little, if any, will power to resist his own temptations.
Overall, a qualified thumbs up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars R.I.P. Rabbit, June 5 2003
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This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
The last novel in John Updike's famous tetralogy finds that life is finally winding down for Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, as America heads into 1989 with a new President and an ever-evolving set of cultural icons and reference points. After three decades of making mistakes -- both personal and professional -- and working like a dog, Harry is ready for retirement from his position as sales manager of the Toyota dealership his wife Janice inherited from her parents, and he and Janice are dividing their time between their native Brewer, Pennsylvania, and their new condo in Florida.
Now fifty-five, Harry is besieged by the deleterious effects of aging and careless eating. Despite his concern for the burning pains in his chest and his excessive weight, he can't stop snacking on junk food, and the consequences are nasty: He has a mild heart attack while taking his granddaughter Judy sailing and, even after having an angioplasty, defies his doctor's advice to change his diet. The man has never been able to control his insatiability, and we, the readers, wait patiently for the crash and burn.
However, it is Harry's son Nelson who is going through the worst travails. Having been left in charge of the car dealership and, like his father, never one for self-discipline, he has developed a cocaine habit which he finances partly by siphoning profits from the business and which makes him a danger to his wife Pru and their two children not to mention the entire Angstrom family fortune. It is typical of Harry's impudence that his extramarital sexual activity, a subject of every Rabbit novel, this time extends to his daughter-in-law, while Nelson is trying to clean himself up at a treatment center.
Updike has always fashioned Harry and Janice as a married representation of all the combined good and bad of the national ethic, a sort of warped suburban American Gothic. At the end of the decade in which AIDS entered the public conscience and S & L scandals wracked the economy, there is something wistful about Harry's participation in a Fourth of July parade dressed as Uncle Sam, a symbol of post-Reagan America -- proud, overbearing, bloated, dying.
Harry as a character hasn't changed much since "Rabbit is Rich," but his immutability is part of his appeal. His peculiar thoughts on the practical aspects of mundane things -- a tour guide's chirpy attitude, the sexual implications of a waitress's hairstyle, the idiosyncrasies of television news anchors -- are always illuminating. The novel is a vehicle for Updike's flowing commentary, delivered in his inimitably witty prose, on pop culture as it existed in 1989, which is still recent enough for the memories to flicker in all their pastel-highlighted tackiness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying final installment of the Rabbit books, Oct. 8 2002
By 
Matthew Taylor (Rockville, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
This book is the final volume in the four-novel saga of Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom, so you know it is going to tie up some loose ends, and it does, some neatly and some not-so-neatly. As a novel, it has the same high-quality writing as the other three, a credit to Updike's ability to maintain his creative energy over the years. As the final installment of the Rabbit cycle, it fits well into the overall story. Rabbit in his mid-fifties still struggles with the same character flaws he had as a young man, but he has also mellowed with age, making him if not more likeable at least more sympathetic. He does a lot of reflecting on the course of his life, and you get to understand how he feels about some to the things he did in previous novels, how he feels about his wife, children, and grandchildren, about living in Mt. Judge/Brewer all his life. This novel rounds out his character. He finally stops being so driven and is able to stand and absorb the good and the bad in his life. I absolutely recommend this book to those who have read any of the other Rabbit books. It also works as a stand-alone novel, but I think the story is so much richer in the context of the previous books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars There's Always Something: The Angstrom Saga Continues, July 1 2002
By 
IRA Ross (LYNDHURST, NJ United States 07071) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
This is the final book in John Updike's Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom tetralogy. It is a good book with much to recommend, particularly the author's interesting fleshing-out of the character of Pru, Harry's daughter-in-law, but the Rabbit saga has clearly run out of steam. Besides spending much time rehashing the events of the earlier three books, the author also tries too hard to cram in all of the current events of the late 1980's as a method of juxtaposing them with those of Harry's personal life.
Rabbit, now in his mid-fifties, is enduring a heart condition and the shennanigans of his troubled and irresponsible son, Nelson, who has assumed the management of his late grandfather's automobile dealership. This book concerns the losses one suffers in late middle age: the loss of youth, vigor and health, and with retirement, the loss of one's career together with the sense of usefulness to one's family and to one's self. All these factors trigger a quantum drop in poor Harry's self-esteem.
All that is left to Harry Angstrom now are his memories: his childhood home, the good times with his younger sister Mim, and especially the fame he had as a high school basketball jock. In various parts of the book Rabbit is shown reading a book on American history his wife Janice had given to him as a present. It is apt that Harry Angstrom, now a creature of the American past, should spend some of his spare time reading about it. The history of the American man is about the adventures of past heroes or near-heroes, like Harry Angstrom. Rabbit also is seen listening to the news on his car radio or discussing with others the current events of the day. This is the world that has sadly passed Rabbit by.
Rabbit, who has largely ignored his doctor's advice to follow a more healthful diet and to exercise more, attempts to redeem himself and to recapture some of his colorful past by shooting baskets with some street kids. The history of Harry Angstrom has now come full circle from the young Harry Angstrom of _Rabbit, Run._ Sometimes one fails to realize that he simply cannot go home again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars They grow up and they never change, Jan. 31 2002
By 
Thomas Stamper (Orlando, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
In this book, the Angstroms are semi-retired and living in Florida. Rabbit has a heart condition and he's not doing anything to improve his health. His son Nelson has grown into a wreck of an adult, to which Harry and his wife deserve the lion share of the blame. The parents are so old and respectable now, you forget what they put their son through, until he reminds them. You really want to root for Harry to overcome all of the obstacles he faces, like you root for charming outlaws to outrun the posse. You sense that Zeus and the Gods are sitting on Mt. Olympus using Harry Angstrom as their plaything. Despite the fact that Updike is given literature status (this book won the Pulitzer), it's very easy to get into. This isn't long and arduous James Joyce prose, but an easy to follow modern day story that will make you think. The series is either a scathing indictment of latter 20th Century middle-class America that invents their own agony or it's just Updike's view of how normal people live. Whichever, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys serious fiction.
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3.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts, Jan. 27 2002
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This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
I feel that the beginning of this book started off kind of shaky and slow. I will also admit that it would have been helpful to know the past of "Rabbit" and his family from the previous novels. Although without it the book still intrigued me on and off. There was a good, strong portrayal of the characters. The different conflicts that occured helped me get through the book. A little long for what it could have been due to long meaningless description at times.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another beauty, Jan. 5 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Rabbit at Rest (Paperback)
Another masterpiece.
A good subtitle could be, "Rabbit gets more crotchety, but more lovable." As with the other Rabbit books, we have a storyline that tracks a standard American life. This time, they've retired and moved to Florida. It's very funny. They dress the way people do when they retire and move to Florida. The kids and grandkids are visiting, and the plot gets complicated and compelling (family dynamics, shouting matches...)
The characters are portrayed with precision, compassion, and elegance. The writing in the first half of the novel is magnificent, and the pace is gripping. I found it hard to put down. The second half, however, seemed a bit redundant and slow to me. However, I'll grant that the subject matter is a little alien because of my under-50 age; I may understand it better in years to come.
These books age well. Updike is really something special.
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Rabbit at Rest Rabbit at Rest
Rabbit at Rest Rabbit at Rest by John Updike (School & Library Binding - Aug. 1996)
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