J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend: A Review
I decided to review J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend because I was curious about Tolkien. I’ve never read any of his books: no Hobbits, no Lord of the Rings, none of it. I probably should: they’re such classics, and his Lord of the Rings is supposed to share a lot of inspiration with Wagner’s Ring Cycle of operas, which fascinate me. Anyway, when Kregel books offered J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, I said yes.
I enjoyed the book. It’s a basic story of J. R. R. Tolkien’s life. I learned that Tolkien was orphaned at an early age. He served in WWI and was pretty traumatized by it. Several of his good friends from college were killed in the war. He fell in love with a girl three years older than him when he was a teen, and the Catholic priest who was his caretaker forbid him to see her until he was 21. At that time, they got in touch again and got married.
Tolkien was always fascinated with languages and its intricacies. He had various very specific interests, and honestly while reading this I got kind of an Asperger’s vibe from him. Turns out I’m not the only one who suspected that Tolkien may have been on the autism spectrum.
Tolkien became good friends with C. S. Lewis during his adult years, and many credit Tolkien in large part with persuading Lewis to become a Christian. Although Tolkien was a professor at Oxford, it was still years before his books found a publisher (apparently some things never change). Publishers feared the fantasy worlds he created would not appeal to adults.
Although I felt that the book was written in a bit too scholarly of a tone to be really enjoyable, I am glad I read it, and I learned a lot. Will I read “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings?” Still not sure — I’m not much of a fantasy fan myself. Have you read them? Do you recommend them?
Thanks to Kregel for a review copy of this book.