2014 first published 1972
As you can see from the labels for this post, Richard Adams’ Watership Down is a difficult text to place. Indeed, it was all the rage when I completed my PGCE in 1973-74 and many students, i.e. adults aged at least twenty-one, were reading this instead of preparing lessons and studying pedagogy.
Adams himself in the introduction to this piece admits that it was difficult to find a publisher because he was told time and time again that “older children wouldn’t like it because it was about rabbits, which they consider babyish; and younger children wouldn’t like it because it is written in an adult style” (loc 174). Yet it was a story based on one he told his own daughters as they went on a long car journey.
There is also some symbolism in it which Adams declares in unintentional. He admits however to basing some of his characters on people he met, some of whom he encountered during World War II. This is what may make it more suitable for teenagers than for the fluent reader.
The story explores some twentieth and twenty-first century complex social issues and therefore requires a mature reader.
The text uses sophisticated language. It is blocked and the default font in the Kindle version is an adult one – as it is in the paperback book which has a 3.9 centimetre spine and is over 400 pages long.