Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 39. A middle-grade novel
I ran out of audiobooks this last week and decided to give The Hobbit a try. I’ve never been one for fantasy, but I enjoyed watching these movies with Nate last summer. I figured it was worth the try while I wait for something else to come available!
I’m sure this book doesn’t require much summarizing. Quiet, home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins is one day randomly greeted by Gandalf, a wizard, and promptly by thirteen dwarves. Slated to return to their homeland and retake their crown and gold, currently protected by dragon, Gandalf has selected Bilbo to be the fourteenth on their journey. In an epic tale of adventure, they make their way back to the Lonely Mountain, and Smaug the dragon that awaits them.
I need to immediately preface by saying that I think listening to this book may actually be very different from reading it. The audiobook I heard is just shy of four hours long, while the book is hundreds of pages. I can’t confirm whether this is an accurate retelling, however I would still like to review this version that I read. Mine was the BBC Radio 4 Dramatization production originally played over the radio in several installments. Like the name details, it is more a *production* than an audiobook.
As a result, while I really loved all the music and the multitude of narrators, the audio quality was garbage. I listened to it in my car on a superrrr long drive down to Boston, and I had to keep messing with the volume buttons to hear some characters, but then got the wits scared out of me by the loud volume of Gollum, per say. (He, in particular, did this loud breathing thing right into the mic that was killer on the ears) It was brutal. I liked the idea of it, and I think hearing it on the radio as it was originally intended may have been better, but I had a really hard time with it in execution. This was my biggest complaint and the biggest problem I had with the entire thing.
As for the actual book content, I really liked it. It brought me back to watching those movies with Nate, that cozy feeling of a marathon, and the adventure and warm friendship of the tale. It really is a good and fun fantasy story, and I don’t say that often. I think I would enjoy reading this a second time, in a different format. It’s a solid story and I think there’s a lot more to parse from it than I got in this sitting.
I like that even in this version of the story you can see character growth – the whole takeaway for me that first time I absorbed that story, was that great friends and great memories can come out of getting out of your comfort zone. I think you can take away that same exact lesson from the book and Bilbo’s adventure out of his hobbit hole. I also picked up on more of the characters purposes within the novel; I thought the plight of the dwarves was an interesting one, particularly Thorin. While at first I felt pity for these refugees and their desire to go home, the ending they get and the decisions made by Thorin specifically had me changing my tune. I don’t know. It’s fun to ponder, and it’s fun that an adventure/fantasy book for young adults has such depth.
I liked this quick read, and it kept me busy during my drive so that’s a win! Like I said, I think I’d need to read a full version, and not just the BBC broadcast, to give a full review and opinion.
I hope you all have an excellent day. 🙂