Book Review: J. R. R. Tolkein, by Mark Horne

Mark Horne’s J. R. R. Tolkein biography is part of the Christian Encounters series published by Thomas Nelson.  Horne details Tolkein’s life and faith in this beautifully -bound little paperback.  From his orphaned childhood, through his school years and the first world war, Tolkein transforms into an intellegent young man, with a love of literature and languages.  As a student at Oxford, and later a professor, Tolkein found ways to indulge these interests, which eventually lead to the creation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which are considered by many to be the forerunners of modern fantasy literature.
I greatly enjoyed this book.  I don’t often read biography, and I only requested this book because there was nothing else on Booksneeze at the time that I was interested in. The writing was fresh and interesting, keeping my attention through all 130 pages of the little book.
My favourite parts related Tolkein’s struggles as a writer, because they mirror my own.  He wrote to his publisher that it was “only too easy to write opening chapters” (p.98).  I can relate!  Tolkein, a perfectionist, was never satisfied with his work, constantly revising and editing.  He took twelve years to write The Lord of the Rings.
If you’re looking for an insight into the writer who created hobbits, but don’t want to crack open a large intimidating tome, I recommend this book.
My copy of this book was provided free from in exchange for an honest review. The opinions noted are mine alone.