Here’s a true story for you: The Hobbit is the first book I ever lied about reading, way back when I was but a young Alison looking to score some Summer Reading Club points. My parents totally did not believe my lies, but they allowed said lies to stand anyway, leading to DECADES of shame and regret. Well, not really. Most of the time I forget it even happened. But I’ve never lied about a Summer Reading Club book since! (Summer reading in general, yes, totally.)
But now I have read it, and I can speak with authority on the subjects of Misplaced Heroism and Wizards That Are Not Very Nice. Seriously, I had no idea Gandalf was such a jerk! Blah blah blah, grand adventures, blah, self-confidence, blah, endless treasure, whatever. No means no, Gandalf!
I know I’m not the last person to read this book, so here’s the plot: jerky wizard recruits homebody hobbit to go help some dwarves steal all the treasures from a talking dragon. Said gang wanders toward dragon and gets swept up in some side-quests along the way; a ring is tricked away from a creeper. The gang finally gets to the dragon and fails at stealing all the treasures until someone kills the dragon for them. There is fighting. Eventually, Homebody Hobbit returns home with a handful of treasure, which doesn’t last long for an amusing reason.
So. It’s a Quest Novel. I’m not always a big fan of these, and I’d have to say this one is all right, I guess. The scrapes they get into are interesting, especially when they ignore directions and go wandering in the woods, and of course I was intrigued by the Gollum aspect of things having seen the LOTR movies (I’ll get around to the books someday, maybe). I was a little concerned by the GI-Joe-like refusal to let anyone die, but then everyone started dying and I was like, hey, hold on, this is going a little overboard. But it’s really not a quest until someone dies, right?
Of course, the best part was that the audiobook cover had the same picture that graces my engagement puzzle (read: the puzzle my then-boyfriend and I were putting together when I completely ignored his proposal [accidentally, I swear!]), so when things got boring I could just think back on adorable times. I may be a huge sap.
The second-best part was that ears-reading the book meant that the narrator SANG to me, which was absolutely fantastic because a) I always want to know how songs in books go and b) Rob Inglis is probably a way better singer than those dwarves and goblins and whatnot. If he could have sung the whole book to me, that would have been just fine.
And even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, I liked it enough that I am very interested in seeing the movie — I was going to watch it eventually if only for Martin Freeman, but now I might actually pay to see it, which is just ridiculous. There had better be singing!
Recommendation: You probably already know if you want to read it, but if you’re on the fence you should think about how much you like quests, goblins, and riddles.