Book Review - "The Hobbit"

Book Review – The Hobbit
“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do!”-Bilbo Baggins

 I have made a concerted effort this year to read more fiction than I have in previous years. Fiction stirs our imaginations and sentiments in a way that non-fiction simply doesn’t. Unfortunately, good fiction is hard to come by in modern times, so I did something I often do – I went looking for an old book instead of a new one. I landed on J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous work The Hobbit.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so I’ll just briefly sketch an outline of the story. An unlikely hero named Bilbo goes on a harrowing adventure fraught with danger, surprising enemies, and even more surprising friends. Bilbo’s adventure teaches him much about the world – but even more about himself. In one particularly poignant chapter, Bilbo finds himself in an impossible situation with no apparent way out – certainly something all of us can relate to. Though the situation is fictional, Bilbo’s decision has many real-world applications. Here’s what he decides: “Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do!”

If you are a parent of young children, I would highly recommend reading this book with your kids. You won’t regret the time spent together, and you certainly won’t regret the lessons they learn from the stories you read to them. Sarah McKenzie, author of The Read Aloud Family, says, “a story allows our children to live through an experience vicariously.” By reading good fiction like The Hobbit, both children and adults can learn how to answer the call to adventure, learn what it means to be steadfast in the face of adversity, and learn about the very real forces of good and evil at work in our world. Christians would certainly be well served by learning such lessons.

Your Pastor and Friend,
John Knox Foster

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