Watership Down

Thoughts   Watership Down by Richard Adams, Originally published 1972 / my paperback copy Avon Books 1975, 478 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:     This is one for my Year of Reading Deliberately!    I have had this one my tbr far too long (but still not as long as any Neil Gaiman – shame on me).    I blame Jenny for being a very enthusiastic cheerleader and the fact that it was at eye-level on the shelf when I stopped in at my town’s gently used book store.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    It’s about rabbits.   Rabbits who set off on a journey and survive to make baby rabbits for a few more seasons…     (Wow – that sounded a bit callous, didn’t it?)      Of course, I noticed a few pages before their grand idea to run off and capture some females that “HEY- they don’t have any females!”

THINGS I LOVED:    I liked the quotes before each chapter.  (I just love when an author does this.)      And I loved the chapter at the end from the human Lucy’s perspective and how she rescues Hazel.   He gets to ride in an automobile!

FINAL THOUGHTS:  No, I didn’t cry and YES, I did actually feel something for these lovable brave critters.   (Except not for their relative who keeps hopping into my garden to eat my kale; not that I’d shoot it or anything.)

A lovely tale of adventure and friendship.


p. 47     With the beanflower’s boon, And the blackbird’s tune, And May, and June!   – Robert Browning, De Gustibus
p. 71     The stranger’s manner told him nothing.    He seemed detached, almost bored, but perfectly friendly.
p. 278                “What is is what must be.”

tharn – [oh!   we have a glossary in the back!!   How perfectly wonderful.]   Stupefied, distraught, hypnotized by fear.
stoat – [we Americans have NEVER heard this term!  at least none of the handful of people I asked….  I guy from Perth Australia knew what it meant.   I couldn’t look it up on a computer because I didn’t have access to one.]  Chiefly British:   an ermine (like a mink, right?)
mendicant – like a beggar
mustelidae – like weasels and their ilk…  stoats, ermine, rodents all of them.
staddle – a base or platform on which hay or corn is stacked


Have you read this?   Why or why not?   Did you not just love it?!   🙂

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

44 thoughts on “Watership Down

  1. Yay, I’m glad you liked it! For a book about a psychic bunny, it’s pretty damn good, eh? I definitely completely failed to notice they hadn’t brought along any girls, and then when they mentioned it later, I felt like a bad feminist for not noticing. :p I kinda feel like rereading this now.

    1. Something about ‘psychic bunnies’ makes me laugh.
      the timing of my thinking that they needed some girl rabbits to make baby rabbits RIGHT before the page when THEY think of it, made me laugh, too. I was wondering about the feminist perspective while reading this and am still not sure what I think on that grand scale…

  2. I have a lot of sentimental attachment to this book, because my dad read it to me growing up and I watched the movie when I was really little. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    1. I want to see the movie! But I’m afraid it will diminish the weight of the book by seeing it in cartoon. so, you think I *should* see the movie?

  3. I gave up on this one last year…I got maybe halfway through it and decided I just wasn’t enjoying it and there were like 250 pages left I couldn’t see myself working through.

    1. At one point (or two) I wondered what I had gotten myself into but I decided I would just go along for the ride. It wasn’t that much work afterall. It’s definitely one of those books that I feel good having read so I can say I read it. Like Ethan Frome and Tale of Two Cities and Life of Pi.

  4. I still haven’t read this! Well, I admit I don’t have TOO much desire to. I don’t like the talking animal premise… but everyone seems to enjoy it!

  5. I read this a long time ago, but I loved it, and cried for about 6 hours when I was done! I don’t know how I’d react to it now, though, especially since I live with the constant frustration of bunnies tearing up my garden!

  6. I read this eons ago, so the only thing I do remember is that it’s about bunnies. I’d say I should re-read it, but umm, well, that never works for me. There’s just too many other books in the world!

  7. I tried to read this one when I was around 12 because I absolutely loved bunnies. It was not what I thought it was going to be about and didn’t like it. I am sure I would have a whole different impression reading it as an adult!

  8. Now you need to read The Wind in the Willows, because (a) it’s a lovely book which is (b) not nearly as long as Watership Down, and (c) there are stoats in it, you get double your money on that vocabulary word.

  9. I remember seeing the movie when I was a kid. Oh how I cried at the end! Except I didn’t remember that it was this movie until just now (I Googled it). It had been driving me nuts for years!

    Anyway, a co-worker recently gave me this book, and now I’m looking forward to reading it, as long as I don’t react the same way I did as a child. 😉


    1. I just looked up a few Netflix revs of the movie and people are polarized: TOO VIOLENT! well, that’s the world that the rabbits live in… I am still unsure abt seeing this. NOt sure I’ll be able to sell it to the husband, either.

  10. I’ve never read it but it’s been lingering in my mind for years- since childhood really, when my mother told me it wasn’t appropriate for children. Thanks for your review; I probably need to read it at some point! 🙂

    1. Ha! You are a *GOOD* girl! For some kids, this is exactly what they need to hear so they’d rush out to read it. I recall being curious about it and it has been a title that has lingered in the back of my mind for eons. Now I can check that box as DONE.

  11. I think Sawyer was reading this book in one of the early episodes of Lost, and because I liked the show, I had put the book in the back of my mind to read. It had since fallen off my radar, so thank you for reminding me of it! To answer one part of your “question to stimulate comments”… I think the reason I haven’t read Watership Down is that lately I haven’t gravitated towards books that feature animals as the primary characters.

  12. i’m guilty of not reading this one…but my hubs has read it. i think i always thought it would be too depressing. 🙂

    glad to see you’re building your (and my) vocabulary with your year of reading deliberately!

    1. I love learning new words. It’s the long-term remembering that I struggle with.
      The book doesn’t end too depressing if that helps.

  13. I just skimmed your review- don’t slap me!- because I’m reading this out loud to my son now. I can’t stand animal books, but I’m actually enjoying this, in spite of constantly worrying about the poor little bunnies. There’s something just so cozy about the thought of rabbits. 🙂 I found my copy at our favorite local used bookstore too. 🙂

    1. HEY Stephanie! SO GOOD to see you!
      This is actually an easy on to skim, don’t you think? No slaps then. Of course, if you are in the middle of it – I understand. 🙂

      Rabbits are cute cozy little critters, aren’t they?

  14. I have had this book on my wishlist for years. I always ask it for my birthday, but somehow no one ever chooses to give it to me. I don’t understand why, it’s one of the cheapest books I have on my wishlist. However, I think some people think I’d cry and they don’t want to give me a book that’ll make me cry?

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed reading this, it makes me want to put it on my wishlist, with a star, once more.

  15. I have read this book! It read it last year in ninth grade and our class was reading it as a group. I thought it was a bit tedious and I didn’t enjoy it. Though it is interesting it just wasn’t my style.

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