The Wobbit: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this book. My recollections of its predecessor Bored of the Rings are of an uneven, but chuckle-filled, delight that I wanted to share with my friends. Unfortunately, this book is only uneven, sprinkled with a few smirks, and I can't recommend it.
It's a shame, really. Tolkien's books seem like a prime target for parody. As are the overblown films that Peter Jackson makes out of them (and I enjoy the heck out of both). If parody is defined as a deliberate copy done for comic effect, this book only vaguely fits the definition. All that is borrowed from the original work is a rough outline of the plot (with little comic effect) that is used to string together a hodge podge of cultural reference one-liners that don't even come close to telling a story.
A few jokes are amusing. There are some good shots at Aaron Sorkin and the walk-and-talk. Dumbledalf's conflation of the worlds of The Hobbit and Harry Potter brought a couple of smiles. Also humorous were characters like L. Ron and his disciples, the Internet Trolls (actual trolls), and the idea of Elvisking.
What didn't work at all was the character of Billy Bagboy, the obvious stand-in for Bilbo Baggins. Rather than be the charming, confused, and frightened center of the story and thoughtful representative for the reader, he was presented as an obese, lazy oaf. Without a likable character for the reader to identify with, the book counted on its jokes to drag the reader through to the end. And since most of the jokes seemed to misfire, it was a real slog to push through the whole thing.
Read the cover. Skim the first chapter or two. If you're laughing out loud, or even giggling, you might enjoy this. If not, I'm afraid it doesn't get any better and you should give this book a pass.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.
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