Jared’s Totally Unsolicited And Completely Subjective Review Of: The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien!
Because after 100 million copies sold, and billions earned at the box office, The Shire world wouldn’t be complete without a “review” from yours truly, am I correct? Winky-face.
Part of me isn’t sure how much longer I’ll continue posting “reviews”–and I’m pretty sure I make clear how I feel about that whole enterprise both in my opening line and prelude to the star rating–but when I launched my Instagram account, it seemed like everyone was doing it, and I’ll unashamedly admit I wanted to be one of the cool kids.
I wax all that uninvited protest above and truth is I’ll likely continue, because simply, I read books, and sometimes it’s nice to share what I thought of those books.
But I say it all (and shame these italics on my blog won’t show in the IG post, because it means I’m emphasizing the shit out of this statement) with my very first caveat on my very first review that I feel strange doing anything that resembles criticizing art. I feel very strongly–and I say this any time another writer asks me for my opinion on their stuff–that everything a fellow ink-slinger does is perfect. Why? Because you, Dear Writer (and at the moment, Dear Reader), are the only one capable–in the entire history and future of humankind–of producing your words, in your way, from your unique experience, thoughts, heart and soul. Nobody else ever has, or ever will, have your ideas, or write your songs (so to speak–songs from the soul, as it were). So I think whatever you write is always perfect, and what I think as a reader, matters little.
And then we apply that reasoning to a critical and commercial success like The Hobbit? Pshaw. Pfftt. One of those type of mouth sounds.
But nonetheless, and since we’re running out of IG space, let us fly in the face of reason and proceed to The Dubious Subjectification of Art Via Stars.
Yes, you read that right. Now I’m gonna go call whatever the Canadian version of the FBI-witness protection program is.
Background: I’d just never read it (nor Lord of the Rings), believe it or not. Made it almost 40 years on Earth without visiting Middle Earth. As you well know by now, I’m a big Stephen King fan, and the epic sagas involving Hobbits and dwarves and dragons and such were his inspiration for writing the Dark Tower series, which is forever near and dear to my heart. So anyway, I figured it was about time!
Synopsis: I know I normally include the book-jacket description here, but do you really need me to? If you haven’t heard about Bilbo Baggins by now, you’re living under an even bigger rock than I was. I’ll let ya Google if you’re really unawares.
So what did I think?: The following is completely subjective, as I’ve taken pains to pronounce. Entirely based on personal preference. And apparently I’m assailing you with an avalanche of alliteration.
I just don’t think I overly love “high fantasy”, as it’s called. I love the King universe(s), where the improbable-bordering-on-impossible happens, but it’s still rooted in a relatable reality. I could even throw down with science-fiction, I think, but this was too much of a stretch for me. I did enjoy the writing, to an extent; it was accessible and flowed easily enough. Again, hundreds of millions of readers can’t be wrong, amirite?
Yet about 2/3rds of the way through I just ran out of gas in terms of interest, but by then I was far enough in, it seemed sacrilege (beyond the heresy I’ve spewed above) to DNF a tome as monumental as The Hobbit. It did kill any interest in pursuing the LOTR trilogy, unfortunately, so I’ll be open to encouragement or persuasion on that front. It feels wrong to possibly get to my deathbed without having read that, either, but the thought just deters too much.
Anyway, lest an ardent fan want to smite me with the fires of Smaug, a 3.5/5 is still a serviceable 70%. That’s simply the level at which I enjoyed it. For the masterpiece of inner art Tolkien bestowed upon the world, that could have only come in its exact form from him, it is perfect.