Thursday, May 28, 2015

Better Than English Class

I suddenly, spontaneously started rereading Watership Down this week, after seeing this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Siderea.

You know how sometimes someone is so smart that you love them, and then they just keep being smarter and smarter until you almost hate them because you kind of envy their genius and being able to live in their own head where they know all this stuff and think all this stuff?  Yeah, Siderea.  It helps that her interests overlap with mine (psychology, books, Boston), but you should read her multi-part essay on the coordinative communication (among other things) in the US health care system, because it's brilliant.

I caution you, that post is actually a series of three post, and there is a LOT of content there.  I actually started just reading them, but as I went along, I realized I really, really wanted to read the book again, and I ended up doing it as a readalong, following each chapter with the relevant part of the post.  Also, I kind of want to read King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, by Moore & Gilette, which she references frequently throughout the essay and which seems so on point.

So it seems I'm now reading Richard Adams' Watership Down again, and trying to convince my book club to read it, too, since I feel like this is meaty.  Although I have to say, Siderea's  theory that the first 65 pages are hard to get through doesn't fit with my experience of the book.  I see her point, that the book is playing out a bigger story than "rabbits looking for a safe home," but you don't know that till later--that's all true.  But I think the search-for-home story is plenty compelling in its own right; it's a ripping adventure story, and the fact that it gets astronomically more complex and beautiful after the beginning doesn't mean the beginning doesn't work on that first, frosting level of the layer cake.

I grew up watching the animated movie (which is super violent, by the way, and not for very little kids), so I remember this story from my very earliest childhood.  It's a great movie, with some amazing voice actors, and does a very impressive job of world building, which is always so much harder in a movie where exposition-dumps are tricky to pull off. 

This is a gorgeous story.  That post is a fascinating read.  I'm so glad this hopped back into my hands after all these years.  Book club, please join me!

(Oh, wait, pun not intended, but I just saw it and dammit, I'm leaving it in!)

1 comment:

Aarti said...

I read this for the first time on audiobook last year and I must say, I really didn't like the book much at all. It was SO long and the whole lack of women and then the search for women so that they could just spread the seed - that was hard to take.