Five words from the blurb: rabbits, leave, warren, journey, danger
I wanted to read Watership Down as a teenager, but several friends warned me about how sad it was and so I avoided it. Even as an adult I’d been scared to read it or watch the film. Recently I realised how ridiculous this aversion was, especially given the number of disturbing books I read, so I bought a copy and settled down to read it in the sunshine.
Watership Down is the story of a group of rabbits who decide to leave their warren and set up home in a new field. Along the way they meet numerous dangers, including foxes, owls and people. It is a wonderful story for children, but unfortunately it didn’t have the same impact on me as an adult.
The main problem was that it was a bit predictable. It quickly became obvious that they would encounter every threat possible, suffer mild peril, but ultimately be OK. I’m afraid I became a cynical reader and started looking for the patterns, groaning as each new predator approached and they escaped AGAIN!
I also found the plot too slow and meandering. It probably didn’t help that I already knew the ending (a sign that this classic book has become so important to our society) or that there were so many rabbits it was hard to bond to any of them individually.
On a positive note, the writing was good and there were some lovely ideas about rabbit mythology.
I’m glad I’ve read it, but I wish I’d done so as a fourteen-year-old.