Watership Down


Author: Richard Adams

I love this book so much, but it is so difficult to read more than once. You need to leave at least a few years in between readings I think. Enough time to let your heart and mind recover, and then you can come back to it. Richard Adams is an absolute master at giving animals human traits, and personalities that are so perfectly aligned you don’t realise that you’re seeing life through the eyes of a rabbit or a dog – you simply become lost in the story, facing the adversity these animals often have to overcome as they try to live side by side with human beings in an ever shrinking world.

Watership Down follows the story of a group of rabbits, suddenly ousted from their homes by the unforgiving, uncaring march of human development. Those lucky enough to escape now find themselves on a perilous journey to find a new haven. I won’t tell you much more, suffice to say that this book is one that everyone should read at least once in their life. Not to do so would be a crime and a damn shame. And yes I would think less of you if I found out you hadn’t read it.

Adams’ is adept at painting humanity with the cruel strokes of an observer’s brush, but anyone with half a grain of intelligence who reads his words will know there is no point in trying to soften the view just for the sake of it. To avoid upsetting or offending anyone. The fantasy woven by his imagination is all too grounded in the reality of human nature and behaviour. It’s safe to say that Adams will break your heart, but if you’re lucky he might heal it too.

Read this if you like: Stories about animals, you’ve seen the movie, you like the song Bright Eyes, you want to read something that will break your heart but give you hope.

Rated: 4.5 scoops out of a possible 5 flavours.