With a similar, lighthearted tone [as Sarah Arthur's WALKING WITH BILBO], but less focused approach, Strauss offers readers sixty more devotional readings based on The Hobbit. His readings are only 4-5 pages each and pull out themes from the various corners of Bilbo's tale. It's a less formal style, in that the devotions aren't broken up by specific sections, but rather shared as a collection of narratives. Rather than honing in specifically on how Bilbo's journey and our journeys coincide, A HOBBIT DEVOTIONAL bounces through multiple topics and themes including a studies in courage, patience, persistence, and developing the character necessary to fulfill our destinies and answer God's calling on our lives.
This book is less of a companion to The Hobbit and more of a treasure trove of insights for readers well familiar with the content and context of the classic tale. Strauss does a nice job of pulling out spiritual principles to digest and ponder at the reader's pace, independently of reading the source material.
I have no idea if Tolkien intended for The Hobbit to have quite so many biblical parallels, but he was a Christian and a very educated man, so it is entirely likely. Regardless, each of the sixty daily devotionals are well thought out, providing a brief quote from The Hobbit, followed by some information around the background to the quote, then the biblical principle that is being illustrated. As the devotional progresses, we move with Bilbo and the dwarves through their journey, facing the trials along with them.
Yes, it's a bit of a gimmick, a cash-in on the upcoming movie release. No, it's not the most theological of devotionals. It's a light devotional, not a heavy Bible study. But, for what it is, it's good - readable, entertaining and thought-provoking, and suitable to be used with children of all ages. Recommended for Tolkien fans, or anyone who wants to consider the Christian background to the movies.
Thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
I first met Bilbo Baggins as a Junior in college. Though a children's book, The Hobbit held my attention. I was a young believer at the time - but even then I could see spiritual connections throughout the book. With the soon to be released movie, it was a pleasure to see Ed Strauss' look at those connections in a devotional setting.
As Strauss moves through J. R. R. Tolkien's original book, we find ourselves introduced to the places and people which are familiar to those who have read The Hobbit. Each of the 60 devotions reviews a portion of Tolkien's book, concludes with a clear application and an appropriate scripture.
I have look forward to reading each day's snippit (of course, I never cheated and looked ahead [:)].) Reading the devotional has made me even more eager for the movie's release this holiday season.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.