Most of us book lovers have a book, or possibly a few, that changes us. It changes how you think and how you view the world. Each time you read that story it takes you back to a certain time or place in your life. It becomes an old friend, a comfort. For me, that book is Watership Down by Richard Adams. Watership Down is one of my favorite books. I would say if not my favorite of all time it’s definitely in the top three. I found this book (a signed copy!) at a thrift store when I was maybe fourteen. I’ve read it at least five times since then. I did plan to review it but not any time soon. However, on Christmas Eve Richard Adams passed away at age 96. I thought what better way to honor one of my favorite authors than to review his first book.
Watership Down was published in 1972. It takes place in the country side of England, primarily on a hill named Watership Down. The main characters of the book are rabbits. At first glance it seems like it’s going to be a silly story about talking animals but it’s so much more than that. Our top two main characters are brother rabbits named Hazel and Fiver. These rabbits have human like characteristics. They have their own sense of religion, military, justice and family life. They have their own God, Frith, and a grim reaper sort of rabbit, The Black Rabbit of Inle. They also have their own folk heroes and myths. The main part of the novel is their quest to find a peaceful home where they can raise their families. So not your average bunnies, at least as far as we humans are aware of. I have read that Adam’s based his story on classic heroic and quest themes, like Homer and Virgil. This is apparent throughout the story because it is basically one big adventure.
It is so hard to summarize this book without spoiling it and I don’t want to do that. I really think this is a book you need to read for yourself. It mirrors real life and I think there is something in it for every person. If you enjoy books like The Lord of the Rings, or just fantasy in general, I believe you will love Watership Down. There’s not much more to say except thank you, Richard Adams, for giving the world such a wonderful story and may you rest in peace. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!