“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
I think in a way this quote from The Hobbit sums up perfectly what my trouble with writing this review is: if I dislike a book or find it mediocre it is all too easy to dwell on its flaws and explain why I did not like it or which parts of it I found bad, but what if I completely and whole-heartedly love a book? Then there is not much to say except that it is very wise and beautiful.
Next to Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings the little Hobbit is almost always overlooked and underrated, but that is a grave mistake. Even though they are both set in the same world and feature partly the same characters those tales could not be more different from one another. The Hobbit possesses nothing of The Lord of the Rings's epic grandeur; it does not deal with the impending destruction of the world and conquering evil, nor are its characters heroes. It is simply the story of a little fellow's journey through a wide world. There and back again, nothing more.
However, in my opinion it would also be a mistake to dismiss it as a children's book just because it was written for Tolkien's own children. Yes, on the surface it as an adventure story (and a very good one, after all it was exciting enough to keep me reading through the whole night), but there is so much more behind that.
The book is told in a very light-hearted way with a subtle and wonderful sense of humour, but still there is a deep wisdom hidden in the apparently simple story. Tolkien must have been an admirable judge of character, for in his fantastic book are incredible realistic descriptions such as this, when the dragon Smaug notices that a little golden cup from his vast treasure has vanished:
“His rage passes description - the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.”And the miracle with Tolkien is that he always manages to teach you something, but never in a lecturing or patronizing way. So, whether you have liked The Lord of the Rings or not, whether you have seen the movie adaptation or not and whether you think you will enjoy reading The Hobbit or hate it, I can only recommend one thing to you: leave aside all your expectations and try it. You might find yourselves surprised.