Monday, January 4, 2010
Review of Watership Down by Richard Adams
“I’ve never cried more at the end of a book.” My thirty-year-old friend told me when he finished Watership Down. Unfortunately, I also came to this wonderful book quite late. And couldn’t believe that I had missed this children’s masterpiece. I remember seeing it on the library shelves when I was in school, picking it up, and thinking “Rabbits? No thanks.” That was the wrong decision. Very wrong. Shamefully wrong.
The adventures of Hazel, Bigwig, and Fiver are epic in the truest sense. Yes, this is a story about very real rabbits finding a new home. Yes, it is also in some ways allegorical. But more importantly this novel brings an entire world to life. Lapine vocabulary and legends flesh out the rabbits universe. This is a quest story, a war story, a founding story. Hazel becomes a figure on the scale of Ulysses, King Arthur, or Frodo Baggins. We can only hope we have the courage of this little rabbit when it comes to our own tests and challenges.
I challenge anyone to read this novel and not weep. Not that this is a tragedy. No, you will weep because this tells you everything important about life, in all its sadness and wonder. Then, perhaps you will find the real Watership Down on a map. You will realize that you can visit this holy place. And perhaps you will find yourself on a plane or in a car on your way to this rabbit Jerusalem. Of course, people will think you are crazy for doing this…people who haven’t read Watership Down.
First published at Hackwriters.