I have always loved imaginative stories. I loved "A Wrinkle in Time," by Madeleine L'Engle as I was growing up. As I matured in my reading, I read the rest of that series and fell in love with the not-as-widely-known "Many Waters." When I was in high school my Algebra II teacher recommended the Lord of the Rings series. It wasn't until after I was married that I read The Hobbit and the others, but both my husband and I loved the books.
The opportunity came for me to review Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware, and I jumped at the chance. While JRR Tolkein wasn't writing an allegory, there is much allegorical substance to the book, and Jim took the time to find it and bring it to our attention. When I am reading serious books--books for my own edification--I am usually riding my stationary bicycle. I like multi-tasking that way, and reading while I ride helps me get my exercise in. I read most of the book this way, except for the last several chapters, I was reading in the car.
I am going to excerpt the one passage of the book that really spoke to me: "Once upon a time, something happened to someone, and he decided that he would pursue a goal. So he devised a plan of action, and even though there were forces trying to stop him, and he moved forward because there was a lot at stake. And just as things seemed as bad as they could get, he learned an important lesson, and when offered the prize he had sought so strenuously, he had to decide whether or not to take it.
This is how writing instructors Gary Provost and Peter Rubie sum up what they call 'the plot for 90 percent of the stories you've ever read.'"
Jim has taken great care to demonstrate how this fit with Bilbo, but also how the challenges and trials Bilbo faced parallel our own. I loved this book, with snippets of the Bilbo's story and then the spiritual applications that go along with them. I will pass this book around to my family, for sure! Definitely Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a chat with Bilbo on his front porch.