Ernie Butler, meet Rabbit Angstrom.

Before writing These Words Are True and Faithful, I had not read any of the Rabbit novels by John Updike. The only things I knew about them were that people read them to appear smart and interesting and that the protagonist was, for whatever reason, nicknamed Rabbit.

This year, I read the first novel in the series, Rabbit, Run. After I finished, as I ruminated about what I had read, I realized the degree of similarity between Rabbit Angstrom and Ernie Butler, despite their different ages and sexual orientations and the publication dates almost six decades apart. It is not only that they both played sports in high school. They both dwell on their pasts; they both run from situations that no longer make them happy in search of an undefined something better; they both vacillate between the official love interest and the bit on the side; they both have a sense of sexual entitlement.

As one Goodreads reviewer of Rabbit, Run put it, “Guys are like that. Why blame Updike?” Why blame me either?