Sunday, November 08, 2009

Curl Up With a Book Sunday

(or not)

The Children of Húrin The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First, a disclaimer: I have been a J.R.R. Tolkien fan ever since my wonderful fifth grade homeroom teacher read us The Hobbit over winter lunch hours when it was far too cold to play outside. I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy more times than I can remember. I do recall viewing the library copies my senior year and seeing my name on the checkout card several times. I read The Silmarillion at least twice and revelled in its intricacies.

Still, after that history, I had no wish to read this book when it came out in 2007. This was my book club's October selection, so I finally went out and read it. I can say that this is not the worst book I have ever read, but it is far from the best. I can also see why J.R.R. didn't publish it, but I wonder why Christopher Tolkien did. This is a very dark and depressing read. There is little joy between these covers and the backstory is impressively dense. Yes, that is typical for Tolkien, but to cram so much backstory into such a small book was difficult even for him. The plot twists and the constant name changes were a challenge to track. In the end, this is not so much a novel as a cautionary fable: Trust the wisdom of those around you and occasionally hold your temper and things will go better for you and those you love. Of course, if Turin had learned any of those lessons, there wouldn't have been a book. That might not have been a bad thing.

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