Review–Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down
by Richard Adams
Summary: A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adam's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time.
Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home.
Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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I’ve been wanting to cross this book off of my Books I Need to Read in my Lifetime list for a long time. Once I read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and Watership Down was references a few times, it really intrigued me. I picked it up the next time I was in Barnes and Noble and started reading. I have enjoyed quite a few novels featuring talking animals, like The Wind in the Willows and Animal Farm, so the fact that this book was essentially about rabbits didn’t bother me. I have seen it shelved as an adult and a children’s book, but I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Watership Down was an extraordinary captivating story about survival as the band of rabbits leave their warren and embark on an adventure to find a new home. Each of the warrens they came across in their journey, including their own, mirrored some sort of society in a few ways, which I found interesting. Every aspect of their adventure could be interpreted in various ways and lessons about society as a whole could definitely be learned and examined. The characters were complex and the dynamics between them changed and grew throughout the book. Some of the things they came across were terrifying, but some of them brought the rabbits together. Survival in a group can be tricky, but the friendships formed and the trust given to each other made all of the difference.

I loved that the author wrote about rabbits and created a rabbit language. The rabbits spoke to each other and other animals, but they never behaved in ways that normal rabbits wouldn’t. They had tales and legends as a part of their rabbit culture, which was also pretty cool. It was like peering into a world where I could see from the rabbit’s perspective.

I understand why Watership Down is a classic and why it has so much praise. For a book “just about rabbits” that is nearly 500 pages long, it was deep, complex, emotional, and interesting. I highly recommend it. It was so much more than it appeared to be!