Book Review: The Hobbit
Like all good books, this one has only improved with time. It was delightful when read in my youth, and it was even more wonderful to return to as an adult. This is a book for all those who long to walk out their door and out into the wide world in search of adventure–to discover the wonders that our day-to-day lives so often blind us to.
The development of Bilbo is particularly enjoyable. He moves from an uptight, though fairly pleasant fellow, into a really courageous hero, willing to stand against not only his enemies, but against his friends when it’s the right thing to do. His “professional” development mirrors his growing strength in character as he comes into his role as the company’s “burglar” and earns the respect of both the wizard Gandalf and his dwarven companions.
The adventures have such a light tone and such a fanciful quality that they carry the story along without ever dipping into the grittier, more harrowing kind of tale which is the Lord of the Rings. And yet, they are not without their share of peril and, for younger readers not familiar with tales of goblins and dragons, they may prove rather intense.
The poetry here is also more whimsical than in some of Tolkien’s other works. It is there for the shear enjoyment that comes from rhyme and song while at the same time providing wonderful images and atmosphere for a world steeped in poetry and a long history.
This is a story that for me opened a door in my mind many years ago and continues to do so today, a story that is, at its heart, about friendship, courage, and doing what’s right in a world that often sees you as small and insignificant. And, like Bilbo, I am all the richer for having gone “there and back again.”