The majority of the books we have read in our book group have been books that force you to confront hard realities, books that strip away the naive belief that we live in a fairy tale world, books that are like an older brother who tells you the truth about Santa when you are only 5 years old shattering the blissful perfect world around into pieces, books that cause you to think about morals and ethics and justice, books about real life and real people. And then we read The Hobbit.
As I listened to Rob Inglis artfully unfold J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece, I felt like if I was someone who valued literature than I should naturally fall in love with The Hobbit. I feared that if I didn’t love it, then it would prove that I was literary fraud. I wasn’t prepared to show up to book group and announce that I didn’t love The Hobbit. And so I tired to fall in love The Hobbit like is was some arranged marriage.
I enjoyed it. I took me back to my childhood to the nights I would sit on the living room floor listening to my dad read to us with his comforting voice Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. Listening to The Hobbit was an experience I found enjoyable, but still I didn’t fall in love with the story.
For one of my high school classes, I had the opportunity to eat at La Caille, an upscale French-Belgian Restaurant where you can order an appetizer of Prestige Osetra Caviar for $110. Before going to the Restaurant, we had an etiquette class where we were educated on how to sit, hold our utensils, where to place the napkin and how to use it, and which spoons and fork to use at specific times. Did I like the experience? Absolutely. Oddly enough, the part that found more fascinating was the dessert they lit on fire as they served it to us, and the bathroom. The bathroom was elegant, the bathroom?! But was the food good? To my 16-year-old pallet is was not. I haven’t been back since so I don’t know how my 40-year-old pallet would judge it. When I was there eating the escargot with my tiny fork, I told myself it was good, I told myself that I liked it because if I liked it than surly that meant something good about me. If I liked it, then that meant I was up there with all those upscale people because I had the same taste as they did.
Did I like The Hobbit? Not really. I thought it was a cute story, but I kept thinking something surely must be wrong with me if I’m not falling in love with this book. But then again, is our legitimacy really tied to our ability to love escargot and The Hobbit?
January 25, 2020
Time Writing: 1 hour
Total Time Writing: 176 hours