I was a very normal child. Like every other when I was at home in the holidays from boarding school, my darling Mummy would come upstairs at nine o’clock, sit on the side of my bed and read to me some something she thought I should like. Thus it was, when I was about fifteen, she came into my room without warning, to my consternation and embarrassment, and plopped herself down on the edge of my bed a treasured tome clutched in one hand and a glass of Pernod and Angostura bitters gripped in the other and said, in her loving motherly way: “Oh stop playing with it and just get your pajamas on, Moons. Twin Peaks starts in ten minutes and we have a whole chapter to read.”
Thus began my initiation into the phenomenon of Middle Earth with its elves, dragons, dwarves, trolls – and hobbits. It was revealed to me a half-chapter at a time and read in a monotone that preceded, but would be later reflected by, the satnav lady. And here is my review.
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
My first thoughts are regarding the central character of the story which is a creature called ‘a hobbit’. I still recall my immense disgust at the concept of it having hairy feet. After that initial moment of repugnance, it was extremely difficult for me to feel any empathy for this creature at all. The hygiene issues were too overwhelming.
It also turns out later in the story that he is a cheat and a thief.
There are also some dwarves who seem to have escaped from another story about Snow White all called things like Loin and Groin and a dragon called Smirk or some such. I did feel for the poor little creature that lived in the caves and had to eat raw fish – I too despise sushi – especially when the hobbit stole his birthday present. That used to happen to me at my boarding school.
The subtitle of the book is ‘There and Back Again’ – which is, I believe, a pretty good summation of the pointlessness of the whole, except we never really know where ‘there’ is or why or who – or how.