I *finally* finished this book on Wednesday! I was literally jumping up and down when I had completed the last page (not something I normally do when I finish a book). Sound strange? It probably won't when I say that I've had all summer to read this book, and I just finished it now. Yes. That girl blushing profusely over there? That's me. See, I love reading books... when they're books that I enjoy. Required reading? Not so much. That's why it took me so long to finish WD. But, 'tis finished now, which means I get the chance to sort out what I liked and disliked about the book.
By Richard Adams
*Summary taken from the back of the book
Watership Down is a remarkable tale of exile and survival, of heroism and leadership...the epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city, and venture forth against all odds on a quest for a new home, a sturdier future.
My Thoughts: Watership Down. What can I say about Watership Down? I didn't hate it--but I didn't particularly love it, either. A good friend of mine was discussing this book with me, and we agreed that one of the reasons behind our rather neutral feelings about the tale is because it's so long. Now, don't get me wrong, I love long books, especially when the characters/story are brilliant. When I read that type of book, I'm sad when it ends. But WD was very rambling and unorganized. It almost seemed as if the author was just writing for the sake of writing until he got a good idea; the plot is inconsistent up to a certain point--then everything is focused on overcoming the evil and fighting the battle.
Pros: Courage. Courage plays a very large part in this story. The rabbits are extremely brave, I must say. Several of them, especially Bigwig (one of the rabbits), think nothing of putting themselves in dangerous situations for the sake of others. I see that as a very selfless aspect of their character, and one to be praised. Of course, Bigwig is alone in the fact that he enjoys a good fight--all the others simply do it because they have no other choice.
Cons: One thing that never failed to rub me the wrong way in this book was the fact that man was portrayed as never being content until he has destroyed the earth and all its inhabitants. Now, we as Christians know that Adam was commanded by the LORD to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28, KJV). Man is above the animals; in WD, the rabbits looked upon man as a vile monster and destructive beast. Now, I know this story is told from the perspective of the rabbits, and 'tis only natural that their assumed viewpoint should be expressed. However, are rabbits going to be reading this book? No. And when a human reads that man will not be satisfied until he has demolished the earth and all the animals, s/he may not realize it, but that perspective starts to seep into his or her beliefs.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 13+, due to its exceeding length.
A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"The rabbits became strange in many ways, different from other rabbits. They knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but [being snared by the shining wire]; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah (the rabbit version of Robin Hood, also given magical qualities), for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy's warren and paying his price?" ~Watership Down, chapter 17