Somehow I never read this book in school. It is a classic and very influential so I wanted to hear it. It has a really interesting structure of stories being told within the larger story, which allows you to hear from three different characters in first person. This book deals with big important themes like hubris and compassion in a clever way. I just found the overwrought misery of each of the characters unbearable. There is a whole lot of bemoaning one's fate in this book and the reader's performance does not help matters. I had a hard time getting through it.
I loved this series as a child. It is a much weirder story than I had recalled. As an adult I find some of it repetitive and not all of the adventures seemed important to the overall development of the story, but it is so imaginative and wonderfully bizarre that it was still very enjoyable. Also the reader does an absolutely amazing job with all of the characters and has immense energy.
I loved this book as a child and I am happy to report that it was even better as an adult. It is really about how the bonds of society are formed. What makes a good leader? What makes a good citizen? How much choice do we have about the kind of society we want to live in? These are the big questions raised by this tale about a group of wild rabbits who are forced to find a new home. I love how all of these very human issues are explored through rabbits who are very rabbit like. Some real attention was payed to portraying rabbits as they really live in the wild. This narrator was excellent.
I would recommend this audiobook. As a child, I had the pleasure of having many classics of children's literature read to me by my best friend's mother who was an actress with a lovely British accent. Listening to this audiobook recaptured this lovely childhood experience. This is a story with a lot of very clear characters and the narrator does a great job clearly creating them with her voice.
I might compare this book to Watership Down, which is another beautifully written work for young people that is just as enjoyable when you revisit it as an adult. Both novels imagine a human like society amongst animals. The animals in The Wind and The Willows are much more human and it is fun to imagine that toads and rats and moles and badgers secretly keep little houses with pantires and cozy fireplaces.
My favourite character was Toad. Shelly Frasier really went all out in creating the highs of his conceit and the lows of his self deprication.
This book made me laugh a lot. The characters are so fully themselves and really a lot like people that you know in real life.
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