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Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams
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Watership Down: A Novel (original 1972; edition 2005)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,585326107 (4.22)3 / 651
Member:ifjuly
Title:Watership Down: A Novel
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:Scribner (2005), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:children's literature

Work details

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

Recently added byFloratina, LauraCerone, lynaia, timr211, Yardape, private library, katefitz, sandrikoti
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English (311)  Finnish (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (324)
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READ IN ENGLISH

This was a television series when I was a kid, you'll know it - Bright Eyes. I never understood the story, but I came across this book and wanted to read it, so hopefully I could learn what the story had been about in the first place. (OK, the lovely rabbit on the cover did help a little in my decision making process).

It was a completely different story from what I expected. A bunch of rabbits set of to create a new colony (that is probably not the right word - please do forgive me) of rabbits, and we follow them as they try to create this.

But, oh, they aren't very clever; for they simply 'forget' to take any female rabbits with them. It's clear they didn't pay attention in Biology classes.

Then, obviously they need to find some female rabbits, and they just go and steal them. I always wondered why the Evil rabbits in the series were hunting them, but it makes more sense now.

A book all about rabbits may sound boring, but believe me, it isn't. There's a lot of suspense and it is interesting from start to end. I would recommend it! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
I can't claim to have loved this one - Watership Down certainly had its moments for me, especially in describing some of the unique communities of rabbits encountered in the book. Overall, however, I struggled to get through this book (perhaps because I was working against a pending book discussion deadline, but still), and I experienced no small amount of trouble keeping the secondary characters straight. I enjoyed the book, but it's not one I can call a favorite or would consider reading again. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | May 24, 2016 |
We just listened to this one in the car, myself and the kids, through Overdrive and our local library. We had to renew it a couple times to get through the whole adventure, but the story and characters would stick with the kids throughout the day and they'd be begging to play it on rides around town.
But man oh man, that ending. It's a gut punch of a beautiful way to end a book. ( )
1 vote mhanlon | May 16, 2016 |
Bunnies!
  LindaLiu | May 4, 2016 |
Let me preface my review by saying that I know a lot of people either: A) love this book or B) find this book to be very traumatic. My experience was neither of these. The fact that this was not my experience does not negate yours. But neither does your love or traumatizing by this book mean that I felt the same way about it.

One of the risks of reading a book that is widely-known and loved (or remembered as traumatic) is that you have a pre-existing notion of just what that experience might mean for you. I came at this book with some trepidation and excitement because I absolutely love bunnies and I also love semi-realistic depictions of wild animals. Those that are accurate about scientific information but also personify them somewhat. I wound up being greatly disappointed because it gave me neither a world of bunnies to get lost in nor an experience of great trauma and drama. What I wanted was a highly emotional experience, and instead I got a bit of boredom and my main emotion being disappointment.

Let me start with what I think was well done. Adams clearly paid a lot of attention to the real science of how wild bunnies live and function, and I appreciated that. I also like the allusions to mythology. But there’s lots of reviews that talk about why they love this book, so let’s get down to why I didn’t.

1) I found it to be way too wordy.
I want cuteness and bunnies and plot not overly long descriptions of fields. This is a really thick book (my copy was 479 pages) and just…not that much actually happens. I don’t like to feel like a book is wasting my time, and I felt that a lot with this one. You could argue that it just felt long because I didn’t emotionally connect to it, but I think part of my lack of emotional connection was because of the lengthy descriptive passages.

2) I was expecting a great mythos of a story, and what I got was WWII with bunnies.
I love WWII. Do not get me wrong. I did an entire course for my History BA in just WWII. But I don’t think bunnies particularly pair well with WWII. A large overarching mythos? Sure. Basically the Battle of the Bulge with rabbits? Not so much. I don’t want my bunnies acting like British colonels and their optimistic soldiers, and I certainly don’t want an evil bunny who is basically Hitler coming into the story. (I mean…who makes the enemy another bunny who is basically Hitler? ? What? Why??)

3)It just isn’t all that tragic (sorry guys).

I thought that basically the bunnies fight to survive all book and then all die at the end. Of the core group of rabbits, only ONE dies. There are many epic battles but just no true peril except for the warren that the rabbits leave at the beginning of the book. They are, true, pretty brutally killed by the farmer, but the problem is we never had a chance to get to know them, and we hear the story of the killing from someone who saw it. We don’t see it first-hand. It’s all very distanced and just not that tragic. This would obviously bother me less if I wasn’t expecting a tragedy from everyone saying how sad Watership Down is. But honestly to this day I don’t get why everyone is so sad. The rabbits get a new warren. They successfully find female bunnies and make more bunnies. One main character dies. That is it. I just. What. Why does this traumatize you people?


So, if you are a person who doesn’t mind WWII told through rabbits, quite long passages of description, and will welcome a tale lacking in great tragedies, you might have a better experience with the book than I did. Lord knows many people the world-over have loved it. But for those who come to it expecting to find a great tragedy or a fast-moving tale or warm and cuddly rabbits be warned that it’s not what you’ve heard about it.

Check out my full review. (Link will be live May 2, 2016).

*initial thoughts*
A) way too wordy
B) basically WWII told with rabbits but you know I can't suspend my disbelief for that. Rabbits are snuggly creatures who make babies.
C) Everyone who was like "ohhhh it's SO SAAAAD" ONE MAIN CHARACTER DIES. That is just really not that sad for how many "epic" battles there are. ( )
  gaialover | Apr 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
It would seem that in Adam's ardor for wild creatures he has tried too hard to make a case for them instead of allowing them fully to be their own recommendation. I'm grateful for much of what he's done, but I'm not going to look at rabbits differently from now on.
 
Watership Down offers little to build a literary cult upon. On the American-whimsy exchange, one Tolkien hobbit should still be worth a dozen talking rabbits.
added by Shortride | editTime, Melvin Maddocks (Mar 18, 1974)
 
This bunny-rabbit novel not only steers mostly clear of the usual sticky, anthropomorphic pitfalls of your common garden-variety of bunny rabbit story: it is also quite marvelous for a while, and after it stops being marvelous, it settles down to be pretty good- a book you can live with from start to finish.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baynes, PaulineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parkins, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tucker, NicholasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Master Rabbit I saw
Walter de la Mare
Dedication
To Juliet and Rosamond, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon
First words
The primroses were over.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
AR 6.2, Pts 25.0

Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren – he felt sure of it. So did his brother Hazel, for Fiver’s sixth sense was never wrong. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them. And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver’s vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all.
Haiku summary
Rabbits find a home.
They find others on the way
and fight to stay safe.
(marcusbrutus)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380002930, Mass Market Paperback)

Watership Down has been a staple of high-school English classes for years. Despite the fact that it's often a hard sell at first (what teenager wouldn't cringe at the thought of 400-plus pages of talking rabbits?), Richard Adams's bunny-centric epic rarely fails to win the love and respect of anyone who reads it, regardless of age. Like most great novels, Watership Down is a rich story that can be read (and reread) on many different levels. The book is often praised as an allegory, with its analogs between human and rabbit culture (a fact sometimes used to goad skeptical teens, who resent the challenge that they won't "get" it, into reading it), but it's equally praiseworthy as just a corking good adventure.

The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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