Hobbit, The by Tolkein, J.R.R., 1937

Hobbit, The by Tolkein, J.R.R. - Book cover from Amazon.co.uk

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What on Earth could I possibly tell you about J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again," that you have not either heard before, or realized on your own after reading this book yourselves? Probably nothing at all! And if I know you fine folks at all, even if I did have something to say, you probably have your own ideas and would disagree with mine either as a matter of principle or out of your own passion for this book. But will that stop me? It never has before, so I'm not going to start now. This book is an easy 5 out of 5, and is near the top of my favorites list.

Whenever one thinks of Tolkien, its a toss up as to whether or not this book, or The Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to mind first. Both have been the subject of songs, radio dramas and games, and both have been given either big or small screen treatment in the past. If our luck holds out, this one will be made into a Jackson masterwork as well. But from its start in the late 1930's this book has commanded a rabid following (despite a realtively low printing run) which only got more intense as the decades wore on. As an establishing book, The Hobbit could have done more. Tolkien even re-wrote a chapter in order to synch it with the Rings trilogy. But on its own, this book is fabulous. It is an adventure story with tons of heart that really never fails to entertain, even in the slower parts. It was written by Tolkien in an autobiographical voice of the main character (the word "hero," is not appropirate), Bilbo Baggins. Baggins is strong armed into going on an adventure with just over a dozen dwarves to reclaim a lost treasure from the dragon, Smaug. Along the way this little hobbit proves himself again and again, and reveals to the brigade of hearty dwarves that he has guts of steel....and some pretty useful magic items too!

In my mind The Hobbit is the best of the best when it comes to fantasy. Its better than Potter, better than Narnia, and certainly better than Eragon, or any of the other recent pretenders. The Hobbit does not attempt to answer any big questions about our reality, nor does it ever take itself too seriously. It does set up, loosely, the epic Rings saga, but this book has a much brighter, lighter feeling to it. It does deal with some heavy topics, such as starvation, war, murder, incarceration, magic and monsters, but never gets too far away from something my 4 year old could handle easily. As a matter of fact, its pretty much the only book he will sit still for. Anyone who enjoys sci-fi and/or fantasy should read this book, just so the roots of so many things that have come since can be better understood.

Copyright 2007, Gregory Tidwell

Reviewed by GTT · Rating Rating of 5 star(s)


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