Who knows how I’ve managed to miss this book for so long. It’s just my sort of thing. And I’m a little annoyed that nobody bothered to mention it to me before now! But oh well, at least I’m caught up. I finally read Watership Down, which was not at all about a naval battle, as the title made me assume. It was all about bunnies.
Dan can’t figure out why anyone would want to read a 500 page novel about bunnies. But they’re very complex creatures, or so I’ve come to learn after reading this book. But I also realized how much we have to learn from reflecting on nature.
The Psalmist tells us “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (19:1). All creation tells about its creator. In the New Testament, we find out that we can’t claim ignorance about God, because all of nature is positively shouting all kinds of truth about him: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
So, why should it be surprising that a book about rabbits, faithful to the way rabbits live in nature, shouldn’t reveal a lot about ourselves and about our God?
I honestly don’t know much about this author, aside from the preface to the book. I didn’t do my homework for this one, since our plans for an upcoming trip to Italy are taking up all my spare time. But I do know that the author did a lot of research about rabbits, so I expect that his representation of rabbits and their daily lives was fairly accurate, minus all that talking stuff.
The plot is fairly simple, one that a child could understand. Which is why the book could be mistaken for a Harry Potter length children’s book. But it’s not merely a children’s book because adults have much to gain from reading it.
A group of rabbits break off from a warren to form their own warren but discover they have one huge problem: no female rabbits (does). The entire book surrounds the conflict in finding does.
Along the way, we learn about rabbit tradition and the different types of warrens that they encounter. There are different leadership styles, ones that mirror human kind, of course. And there are also admirable, sacrificial acts by brave leaders on behalf of the weaker members of the warren.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the book was the introduction of rabbit language, terms that only rabbits use to describe things that only rabbits need to describe. For example, the rabbits have a unique word for the time when they leave the rabbit holes to go outside. It’s a word only a rabbit would need of course. The words are gradually woven into the story and soon, you find yourself comfortable with the rabbit language.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but that’s next on the list, as soon as I coerce Dan to read the book.
Now if only there were an equivalent book about cats!