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Watership Down

Hey Everyone! I’m so glad I finally finished this book. It was a slower read and took me a little longer to get through until I reached the halfway point. I picked it up on a whim because it was on sale at Book Outlet, and because Easter is approaching I thought bunnies would be a fun reading theme. Admittedly, I zero idea what to expect going in. I thought, “Aw, cute bunnies! Who doesn’t love cute bunnies?!” And I vastly underestimated the themes of the story. I’m also not generally drawn to fantasies that center around animals. I know there are a few out there and they never seem to appeal to me. I’m surprised I ended up diving into this book, rather than putting it off. But I’m SO GLAD that I did.

With COVID19 keeping me indoors, I actually found that reading about these rabbits boosted my mood. They became good friends of mine and I looked forward to each night of reading.

Here is my review:

(5/5⭐️) “If there’s going to be a story, don’t you think I’ve got as good a right as anyone to choose it?” When one thinks of stories about courage, having rabbits as the chief characters usually doesn’t come to mind. Watership Down changed that for me.

When Fiver, a small and often overlooked rabbit has a bad feeling about danger, he convinces his brother Hazel and others in their warren to leave in search of a safer place. Along the way to a new home, they encounter dangerous odds, one after another, forcing each rabbit to learn what courage and bravery means. When at last the rabbits find a place they can finally call home on the Watership Down, they realize something monumental: they have no does. Without does, how can they grow? How can they pass on their legacy? All their hard work to build a new home will fade in the sunset. So a new adventure is hatched, the most daring and dangerous of them all. They must infiltrate a neighboring warren and convince some of the does in this overcrowded settlement to sneak away with them. But it is not so easy—impossible even. And once they seemingly succeed, their work is not done. They must fight unto the end of their strength and hope that El-ahrairah, god of all rabbits, sheds mercy on their souls.

Watership Down took me by complete surprise. It was an unexpected tale full of adventure and hardships with a great deal of darkness oozing from its pages. When one thinks about rabbits, the general picture portrayed is frightened helplessness or cute bunnies. The characters of Watership Down were nothing of the sort. Sure, they had their struggles when fear was upon them. What differentiated them was their ability to act in spite of fear, to overcome each challenge faced. “I’d rather succeed in doing what we can than fail to do what we can’t.”

The story moved a little slower in the beginning, but at about the half way point, the true mission became clear. The neighboring warren was unlike any warren Hazel-rah and his rabbits had ever encountered. The rabbits living in the warren were all prisoners under the tyranny of General Woundwort, and were not permitted to leave. The general forced these rabbits to live abnormally, against their instincts. Those who tried to leave were mutilated and even killed. It became apparent to our rabbits of Watership Down that they needed to craft a cunning plan if they were to infiltrate the neighboring warren and rescue the does who wished to escape. Even with a solid plan, their odds were still against them. I found myself glued to the pages while reading though the heist. I was rooting for Bigwig the whole time.

I grew to love the rabbits of Watership Down. Hazel with his wisdom was not perfect and made mistakes, but he was willing to own up to them. Fiver with his solid instincts. Dandelion, capable of spinning great tales. Bigwig—lets not forget Bigwig—the true star of the show. Silver, Holly, Bluebell, Buckthorn, and so many others that it’s hard to name them all. Each had his own unique personality, and each brought something unique to the table. But it was the brothers Hazel and Fiver that stole my heart from the beginning because it was Hazel who truly believed in Fiver: “You want to run – I’ll run with you.”

I was so hesitant to read a story about rabbits. Reading animal stories is not something I’m really into. I’m so glad I read this. I actually cried on the last few pages. The ending was so heartwarming! This is a story for all ages! And it’s a great book to add to your repertoire.


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