My Battle with Watership Down

It all started when I was six. It was 1990 and my uncle and his new girlfriend invited me to have a sleep over with my cousin who was four. I had my stuffed bear Simpson with me. My uncle had rented Watership Down, and so the trauma began. Do you see the pastoral and lovely picture on the book? See how calm and peaceful those lovely fuzzy bunnies are? Just wait. I have prided myself on constantly being independent, and brave. I was neither that night. Some place between Hazel and Fiver leaving the warren with the small group of rabbits and when Bigwig got caught in the wire I screamed until my mom came.

I swore to myself as I sobbed my way home that I would never watch killer bunnies again. I had been so upset I forgot Simpson, this led to further tears and heart ache until my chastised uncle returned him to me the next day.

Cut to 2004, I was living in England and I had just had my wisdom teeth out. I was good for nothing but sitting on the settee and moaning while I ate liquid Tylenol like candy. I was too tired to change the channel when I noticed Watership Down was on next. It may have been the drugs, but I watched it. I was 20, this was going to be okay. It was. I finally made it to the part where we meet Kehaar, he swore, it was funny. I didn’t even know it was a book. When I found out, I decided I liked the movie well enough now, so why push things.

And now, 2012, the NYR list. What book flies off the page and says hello? Why it’s my old friend, Watership Down. It’s about bunnies at war, this was all I could remember. When the book arrived from the library my heart sunk. It was huge, and I already watched the cartoon! Why was a children’s book so large? Why did I have to read about some black spirit rabbit? Why did some ninny think bunnies fighting to the death was a great idea for a kids novel?! Seriously.

Kehaar and Bigwig.

It. Was. Brilliant. IF I ever have children, (that is not even remotely something I plan on having a reality), I will force them to let me read this to them. Only then, armed with my Simpson who is still with me, will I watch the film with them. When they’re older than six. I read this book in two days. I loved it, I didn’t want to put it down. The imagery, the tangible bonds of friendship and humanity that shone through the characters was amazing. Beautiful read, and cheeky enough to keep me interested.
Now………..Piss off!


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