Watership Down by Richard Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Give me a horror book with murder and mayhem involving human beings, and I’ll barely blink an eye. Humanise a group of rabbits and their battle for freedom from the evil humans and other militant rabbits, and I’ll cry like a baby.
Fiver has something of a sixth sense, and knows something “bad” is about to happen to their warren. So he convinces his brother Hazel, and a small group of bucks to venture out and start a new life somewhere else. Somewhere on a hill, open and defensible. Watership Down.
These brave bunnies work together to overcome obstacles, both natural and man made. They keep their spirits up by recounting their myths and legends. Finally they locate a perfect, beautiful spot to start their new warren. There’s only one problem: no does, therefore no kittens, and the warren will be a very short lived venture. Which is how they run in to the vicious General Woundwort and the Efrafa rabbits. Escape to the country becomes infiltration and The Great Escape.
Written for children, but certainly not written to talk down to children, this book is worthy of the term “classic”. The moral tales should be required reading for all ages. Just like how science fiction works by transposing the struggles and themes of today onto a fantastical backdrop, by similarly telling a story of family and community through the “bright eyes” of these rabbits, you can discuss serious topics without becoming bogged-down in grim reality. A must read.
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