Roverandom - J.R.R. Tolkien, Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull

As wonderful and rich and moving as he may be sometimes, Tolkien can be terribly boring.

There is something of the lightness that makes 'The Hobbit' so much fun, but since Tolkien never fully prepped this book for publication, the final effort was never made to make this appealing to children. I'm sure 'Roverandom' was much better when it was a homey story exclusively for his children.

When reading this my first mistake was to read the introduction, which didn't leave off at telling the provenance of the story, but laboriously tries to establish just when parts of the story were written down and even more so tries to justify its publication here as something more than turning out the proverbial pockets of Tolkien's filing cabinets. When finished with that nonsense, the story itself just isn't so appetizing anymore.

But here it is, "a full-length fantasy!" about a dog who gets turned into a toy and has wonderful adventures while trying to become a dog again. I will say that the story and the humor is better than Bombadillo, but I think we all know just how much that amounts to. It reminds me of that jab by somebody or other, about how sad it is to read Shakespeare when he's really, really trying to be funny. The story does come full circle and, having been prepped for review by publishers, is better than your average dead-author capitalization piece, but I didn't love it, I didn't necessarily like it, and I can't even say it offers any insight into Tolkien other than that he had a very good imagination, which we already know.