In my last review, I mentioned that sometimes I avoid big pop culture touchstones for no readily apparent reason. Just like I had never read Harry Potter until this summer, I had never read The Hobbit. One of my very good friends has been talking Tolkein for a month, so I decided to take the Middle-Earth plunge. Just as I enjoyed Harry Potter for the amazing world that the author built, I enjoyed The Hobbit because of the amazing world that Tolkein built.
For those of you who haven’t yet been to The Shire, The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who goes on an adventure with some dwarfs and a wizard to find treasure guarded by a dragon. A hobbit is a race of people about half the size of humans. They have tough feet, they’re hairy, and they love to eat and chill out. (Hobbits know what’s up.) They live in little houses with round windows, or in hobbit holes in the ground. For the most part, they like the status quo. However, if you push a hobbit, expect a shove back. They will surprise you.
Perhaps no one surprises the protagonist hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, more than Bilbo Baggins. He is approached by a wizard to go on an adventure, and he accepts. While I enjoyed the world building, I really enjoyed a couple of the novel’s themes. First, do something with your life (hence the post title). Second, stand up against evil. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.
Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
The novel places the reader in a fun and lively world, although the plot sometimes drags out a bit. However, because of the world and winking prose, I give it 4 stars.