Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

When talking about classic young adult literature, one must discuss The Hobbit. Published back in 1937, Tolkien originally wrote this fantasy tale for his three sons. It has since went on to touch the hearts and lives of both children and adults alike.

I recently was coerced into reading this book by my husband, a fantasy and Tolkien fan. Knowing its history as a great young adult book, I decided I must read it. I must say that The Hobbit is certainly different from much of the young adult fantasy novels today.

It is the slow-paced tale of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit who sets out with a group of dwarves and a wizard in search of a dragon's horde. Baggins at the beginning of the story is a reluctant member and only joins the quest on the suggestion of Gandalf the Grey (a real wizard's wizard). You see Hobbits don't do adventures and it is only because of his ancestor, Old Took, that he really has any adventure in him.

Family lines are important to the story and Tolkien does a good job of incorporating them. As any reader of his Lord of the Rings trilogy can attest (The Hobbit is the prequel/companion novel to this set), Tolkien is all about the history and culture of his world. A known linguist, Tolkien even wrote a language for the books, but I am getting off point now.

Back to The Hobbit, the quest for the dragon's horde ends up being a minor part of this book. The real story takes place on the journey to the dragon. This is probably why the subtitle of this book is: There and Back Again. Through the group's journey readers are introduced to the world of Middle Earth, and important aspect of the book for anyone wanting to read The Lord of the Rings.

Overall, I have to say that this book is definitely finer literature than most young adults are use to. It is very slow-placed, but the characters are wonderful and enduring. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read The Lord of the Rings or who enjoys in depth description in their fantasy novels.

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