Tolkien: A Biography by Michael White (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Tolkien: A BiographyTolkien: A Biography by Michael White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Michael White inserts his own interpretations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as he describes the life of their famed creator, J. R. R. Tolkien. From the death of his parents, to his distressing experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, to his tumultuous relationship with fellow author C. S. Lewis, Tolkien and his life are documented and analyzed in full in this biography. I found the explanation of Tolkien’s writing process, which he called “sub-creation,” particularly fascinating. Unfortunately, the author makes frequent references to his own opinions of certain events in Tolkien’s life, making the entire book seem slightly more subjective than one would expect of a work of nonfiction. Aspiring writers who wish to understand how Tolkien “sub-created” an entire new world may enjoy this biography, but devoted Middle-Earth enthusiasts who want to learn more about the fantasy realm itself may feel slightly disappointed. – Andrew R. ‘17

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