After rereading an old favourite I decided to tackle “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien, seemingly an easy read at around 300 pages. I was certainly wrong on the “easy” front. I spent 7 painstaking days ploughing through the novel,
a shocking performance when one considers its short length. No matter how much I tried to I couldn’t bring myself to care either way about Bilbo Baggins and his adventures, or his numerous companions. In a book with so many characters I’m astounded to report that I couldn’t say I liked a single one of them! I have to acknowledge that the book is well written and imaginative, however I didn’t find it touching or memorable on any way.
As I have said above, I didn’t care either way about the fates of Bilbo, Gandalf or the dwarves that accompanied them. At one point I had been skim reading to such an extent that I had not realised a main character had died a “heroic” and “dramatic” death and had to backtrack several pages to reread his death scene. I thought Bilbo possessed momentary moments of sweetness, although these were overshadowed by his irritating and repetitive moaning. Never have I experienced a book with such a snivelly protagonist! The dwarves who accompanied Bilbo did not offend me as such but I found them repetitive and felt as though they were merely several slightly different versions of the same boring character. Gandalf was a refreshing change from the bland dwarves, despite irritating me with pretentious speeches. As a character I didn’t care either way for his fate. The only character who continouously entertained me was Smaug; consequently I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously rooting for his sucess…
The one thing I cannot fault “The Hobbit” for is the imaginative, accurate and detailed writing showcased by Tolkien. In all honesty I would regard the style of writing used as the best thing about the book! My only criticism of the writing would be that at times it was too descriptive and began to bore me, and that it did not entice me into feeling either way for Bilbo and company. Ever since I finished the book last night I have been trying to decipher what could have led me to have so little feelings for a set of characters and am currently still flummoxed… My only suggestion would be the incredibly boring “it’s just not my type of book”!
As a whole, I will acknowledge “The Hobbit” as a good book but can’t honestly say I enjoyed it. It was short book that seemed to last forever! No matter what I tried, I couldn’t convince myself to like the main characters! I can appreciate its modern classic status due to the lengths Tolkien went to to create his complex fantasy world, but cannot comprehend why anyone would read this book with the intention of indulging in a spot of light entertainment! For something classed as a modern masterpiece it is with regret that I inform you that the films are definitely better and more enjoyable. I made a good start with the book, 25% in a day, but was soon lagging behind. Other than Harry Potter, I have now officially certified that fantasy is not for me…