Guest blogger hubby here, chipping in as promised on the male perspective on Watership Down (aka “The Bunny Book”). Overall, it is an enjoyable book that can appeal to both men and women, but it’s not a quick vacation read (which seems to be my usual standard for books these days).
If you want to feel manly while reading this book, get one without a giant bunny rabbit on the cover. Or just rip off the cover (with your teeth).
The book starts off slow, with way too much emphasis on flora, fauna, and bunny character development. There is some intermittent action spliced in at the beginning. For a while there it was touch and go as to whether I would keep reading. Thankfully my sweet, loving wife egged me onwards. She was spot on that the author seems to improve as the book went on, focusing more and more on something called “plot.”
I enjoyed the stories he told, which were sort of like fables and bunny folklore. Some even had a religious bent. Some of the stories have Biblical allusions, from the perspective of the animal kingdom. The bunnies prayed to the sun, “Frith,” so at least they were monotheistic. And “the black rabbit” was Frith’s enemy (think “Basement Cat” for Amy’s usual readers). What was pretty cool is how it talks about the need for strong male leadership. A warren cannot survive without a good leader. Then, much like the church has elders and deacons, the “Chief Rabbit” had his supporting cast, the “owlsla” who were always looking for a good fight. Plus, what guy doesn’t like to read about bucks conquering and mating with does! (hehe) It’s PG rated, don’t worry.
I especially liked the glossary at the end which explains all the bunny words. My favorite is “hrududu” (a vehicle with an engine). Amy (ever the linguist) didn’t even know the glossary was there and tried to figure out what all the words meant on her own.
There are several battle scenes throughout the book with blood, guts, death, and covert operations. If I have to explain why this is important, this post might not be for you (go back and read Amy’s post). Without spoiling it though, the bunny war at the end is…epic.
Oh, and you’ll look at seagulls in a totally new light. Did you ever wonder what accent a seagull speaks with? Read the book and find out.