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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"Rabbit At Rest" by John Updike



• Naomi Campbell on Time cover
• World Wide Web debuts
• Autism is special ed category
• 92-year old Dr. Paul Spangler finishes NYC marathon



Sophisticated Harvard grad Updike manages to make you care about characters who make terrible decisions and not particularly likeable.


Joyce Rivas, Ithaca, NY

Featured Reader

Model. Every judgy, nasty thing you say is an invitation for more of the same. Kindness and self-control are also contagious choices.
“Reading Pulitzer Fiction winners is one way to understand bigotry and to be aware of what you can personally do to treat others inclusively. Great literature provides inspiration to grow and act on your beliefs.
I grew up in the “Rabbit is Rich” environment – Suburban Philadelphia during the 1970s – and love to play golf, so I feel qualified to say “Rabbit is Rich” nails the despicable womanizing racist country clubber sleazy car salesman. “Rabbit is Rich” reads like an X-rated, literary “All in the Family.” Think satire with outrageous slurs and cringe-inducing humor, with the X-factor of explicit sex scenes, including a particularly memorable encounter involving Krugerrands.
“Rabbit is Rich” a book that makes you want to take a shower and challenges you to delete the awful bigoted imagery Updike burns into your brain. It’s by no means my favorite Pulitzer, but I’m glad I read it because it’s a constant voice in my head urging me to set a good example and be a decent mom and an inclusive community member.


Bigot flees to avoid heart issues, son's drug addiction


When a badly-piloted Sunfish capsizes, deaths are narrowly averted, in large part by a singing child.


Updike wins a second Fiction Pulitzer for the third book in his Rabbit series.
Vivid media descriptions of channel surfing, commercials, TV shows, radio scanning are zhuzh that also anchor the book in time.


Deep philosophical statements interspersed with comic descriptions of bad behavior take you through 608 pages or 19 listening hours.


Heed. Disaster should not be a surprise.


The upside of Rabbit’s aging is that his bigotry and misogyny are less frequent, but he’s still despicable head of an awful family.


Bird food, macadamia nuts, processed, chemical low-cal frozen food, chips and whatever else is handy and not good for your heart.


“A body eating enough to feed three Ethiopians a day, a shameless consumer of gasoline, electricity, newspapers, hydrocarbons, carbohydrates.”


Assisted living community dining room or a restaurant that feels like one.


What important signals have you missed?
Is there any remedy for Rabbit’s unforgivable transgression?
What forms does forgiveness take?
When is it OK to let your child fail?


Get in the car and drive to Florida without telling anyone. Stay in a retirement/golf community.


1970 Rabbit, Run film
Entire series has been optioned for TV


Preceded by “Rabbit, Run” and “Rabbit is Rich.” Followed by “Rabbit Redux.”

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