Saturday Selections: Watership Down (novel)

A book about a bunch of bunnies may seem like kid stuff, but Watership Down by Richard Adams is a classic tale of adventure and heroism that you should definitely add to your reading list….even if you’ve read it before.

About the Book

wdWatership Down starts in what seems like an idyllic rabbit setting. Sure younger rabbits may get roughed up a bit and don’t get the best forage, but the warren is strong and healthy. So when Fiver gets a sense that danger is approaching, it’s a hard thing to convince the chief rabbit that they need to clear out and find a new home.

The chief rabbit doesn’t listen, but the feeling is too strong so Fiver, his brother Hazel and a few other rabbits leave the warren in search of an ideal Fiver holds in his head as the perfect place to settle.

Along their way they face many dangers – they’re rabbits after all, everything’s dangerous – and have to face problems completely foreign to them. And once they do find a home, they face even more trouble from a nearby warren and its tyrannical chief rabbit.

Love This Book and I Always Will!

I first read this book when I was a kid, maybe ten years old. I had seen the cartoon, then saw the novel in the store and wanted it. Of course. my parents thought it was too big of a book for a kid and that I wouldn’t read it, but I managed to get a copy anyway. And yes, i did read it.

Since then, I’ve read this book at least a dozen times and just read it again (okay, listened to the audiobook) this week. Regardless of how many times I read it, it’s still a fabulous story.

I can’t say exactly what it is that grabs me and makes me want to read it again and again. Obviously, the story is excellent – fast-paced, believable, plenty of detail without being overly wordy and filled with characters you want to see succeed (or fail, in the case of the bad bunnies). It’s classified as a fantasy novel and it does have those elements of heroism, the epic journey, and world building (including stories and rabbit language) that define fantasy novels, but everything in it seems like it could truly happen (okay, rabbits may not speak, but they certainly must communicate with each other somehow).

For the book, Adams researched rabbit life and even had a rabbit expert read the book to make sure what the rabbits do in the story and how they behave stayed fully in line with true rabbit behavior. This and the real world settings truly make this book believable and engaging.

And no matter how many times I read Watership Down, the ending always gets to me…actually the more times I read it, the earlier I start thinking of the ending and get a little choked up. I’m such a sucker for a good story.

Have you read Watership Down? Do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.
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