Linda's Reviews > The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
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it was ok
bookshelves: peer-pressure-reading

(Update: Want to read the complete review? Visit the article in Counterpunch!)

I'll admit this: the only reason why I read the LOTR Trilogy was because I was jealous.

The year: 1972. It was a time of ridiculously insane fashion: hot pants, maxi-coats (and pads) and rough-woven cotton shirts, so scratchy they felt like the sartorial equivalent of surgical gauze with chunks of wood stuck between the weave. It was not for the faint-hearted.

And of course, who was the most faint-hearted? Me. I was entering a new high school in a new town in a country I hadn't live in since I was eight. And since I didn't fit in (or so I thought) I was desperate for a new identity. Since my sister had squatter's rights on the cute/adorable/PYT persona, I was left with the one that I later discovered would make high school life a living hell: The Smart One.

The only problem was, I wasn't that smart. Sure, I could work in references to Betty Friedan with only the vaguest notion about who she was, but when you're surrounded with a peer group who thinks the face of feminism is Marlo Thomas, it was easy, except for the one person who was the true intellectual: Colleen.

Colleen represented everything I wasn't: a polite, wise-beyond-her-years semi-adolescent with perfect skin and hair, who sported a near genius-level intellect. Think of an Asian Susan Dey with actual musical talent and the potential to enter Berkeley at fifteen. And it didn't help to have a mother whose daily mantra was "why can't you be like Colleen?"

So I was in love/hate over Colleen. If Colleen wore culottes, I wore culottes, only mine were eight sizes larger. If Colleen cut her bangs, so did I. The problem was, she had straight Japanese hair that tumbled dutifully back into place whenever she tossed her sylph-like neck. Me? Picture the hair of a young, chubby and half-Japanese Phyllis Diller but without the wigline.

But the one thing that stood out most about Colleen was her and her equally intellectually superior friends' obsession with LOTR. She told me stories of their endless discussions of Middle Earth, Gandolf and the rest of the lot. Images of Colleen and her friends, looking semi-elvish, slipping from class to class, dodging dull students, dogged me in English class. They were ninth-grade gods.

It wasn't until Colleen told me they left an inside joke about their instructor on the blackboard in *Elvish* in one of their gifted classes that I decided to take action: I got on my bike, went to the local K-Mart and bought the Trilogy.

I started out strong: the hobbits I was comfortable with. Then came the Elves. Then the dwarfs, the Orcs, the whatevers. After the parade of names like Bombadil, Elendil, Everclear, I had the horrible realization that I was hopelessly lost. And it wasn't going to be easy to find my way back.

But I was undeterred. I sloughed my way through Fellowship, then Two Towers and Return. I played little tricks to keep me interested: pretending I was one of the plucky hobbits, fantasizing myself as an Elven goddess--anything to keep me reading. It must have worked because I finished the damned set.

But my plan didn't work. I was still me: I couldn't muster witticisms about Boromir to clueless classmates. I was still plump and my hair was as unruly as ever. Worse, my mother not only kept comparing me to Colleen, she started pulling out photos to illustrate her point. I shoved the books on the top shelf and tried not to think about being a Smart Kid ever again.

But it was too late. I knew enough to be dangerous. I realized that even if I didn't like the books, I was familiar enough to make knowing comments about them to the right (i.e., AP-bound) clique. So I was accepted. Kinda.

I still have the books. They're still sitting on my bookshelf, surviving countless moves and weedings. Still can't remember who Arwen is, though.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 1972 – Finished Reading
October 27, 2007 – Shelved
April 10, 2016 – Shelved as: peer-pressure-reading

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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message 1: by Linda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Linda I can't believe you found this!

Linda


message 2: by Linda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Linda It was fun--I still don't understand the allure of these books. Now those Star Trek Novels: that's literature!

LInda


message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Arwen was Aragorn's wife in the novel who appeared for about 2 minutes in the entire trilogy. It was the films that insisted on dragging her into the story (although they couldn't find much to do with her either).


Shane you guys are dumb ass these books are more powerful than you think so go read some dumb book that you can read and let the rest of us like it


Katherine Honestly this is not a very good review. Reviews are supposed to give the reader of the review some insight into the book i.e. what did you like about it and what couldn't you stand. Telling a story about why or how you came across the book is good but not when you make the entire review about how you expected this book, that you obviously didn't spend much time on, to change your life. Please keep this in mind next time you make a review.


Linda Katherine wrote: "Honestly this is not a very good review. Reviews are supposed to give the reader of the review some insight into the book i.e. what did you like about it and what couldn't you stand. Telling a stor..."

Dear Katherine: I am very sorry you did not like my review. I'm afraid you would not like my review of "Airport", nor the scorching relevations I will unveil in my upcoming critique of "The Story of Ping".

I will take your comments under advisement. Please accept my apologies in advance for any untoward comments I may make in the future about cloistered British academics who liberally borrow from Celtic mythology for their own devices.


Virag OK, Honestly, why did you go on and on about your high school life, and write less than three sentences about the actual books? Besides that.... most of the people that don't like LOTR say they don;t like it because they don't understand the plot. If it's not your thing, I understand, but don't bash it and say it sucks if you're the one who can't comprehend the story. It's obviously an epic novel, and it's not something that will die out in a few years.


message 8: by Riv (new)

Riv *giggles* Love it :)


Ariel I found this review entertaining. Not helpful, but I found myself stuck on every word. What a story!


message 10: by Bryz2034 (new) - added it

Bryz2034 Linda has issues,this book is great


eliza rich ROCK ON REVIEW HATERS I'm with you. This review sucked ass!!!!


Linda eliza wrote: "ROCK ON REVIEW HATERS I'm with you. This review sucked ass!!!!"

Yeahhh!!! Dude!!


Kagama-the Literaturevixen I kind of appreciated your review :) Didnt mention the book too much...but it was a story in itself.


message 14: by Aamrah (last edited Feb 14, 2012 07:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aamrah Screw the haters. I read this to seem smarter, too. Then I felt guilty for getting bored by the middle whenever everyone talked about what a brilliant book it was. I would stealthily shuffle out of the room. Thank you, Linda.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Linda wrote: "eliza wrote: "ROCK ON REVIEW HATERS I'm with you. This review sucked ass!!!!"

Yeahhh!!! Dude!!"


lol. Got to love sarcasm.


Shreya You're suggesting vapid literature like Twilight (if Twilight can even be CALLED literature) over Tolkien? Also,you not being able to comprehend the book and your high-school experiences have NOTHING to do with LOTR.


Chris Ferrin yeah fuck this review this stupid bitch probably couldn't even finish the book


Chris Ferrin I'll never get why girls care so much about fitting in, why not just read because you LIKE the book


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Chris wrote: "yeah fuck this review this stupid bitch probably couldn't even finish the book"

So according to you anyone who doesnt love this book deserve to be called bad names?

That seems smallminded for someone "smart" enough to enjoy this book.


message 20: by Isidora (new)

Isidora I understand that the Lord of the Rings books are hard to read, I witnessed it myself. But if you really can empathize with the characters you'll soon find it very light though. I love Tolkien and his books (and Peter Jackson's movie adaptations); they made my childhood unforgettable, but I couldn't read the books back then for obvious reasons. And here I am in 8th grade sucking them in. They are still hard to understand at some points but for me it's totally an enjoyable and beautiful experience.


message 21: by Luiz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luiz A similar thing happened to me Linda...my mither and 4th grade teacher tried to get me to read them when I was too young to fully appreciate what was going on (I was always an advanced reader, but even a 9 year old has limits). Ten years later, I'm 19, giving them another shot, and I'm sure as hell glad I did. You should too.


message 22: by Luiz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luiz A similar thing happened to me Linda...my mither and 4th grade teacher tried to get me to read them when I was too young to fully appreciate what was going on (I was always an advanced reader, but even a 9 year old has limits). Ten years later, I'm 19, giving them another shot, and I'm sure as hell glad I did. You should too.


message 23: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M virag,kudos.if you hadn't said these I would have. linda, seriously you should stick to stories like 50 shades and not epic novels such as this and talk about your whole personal teenage year problems to wind up annoying actual readers who read for passion.


message 24: by Russel (new)

Russel Maybe invest in a personal therapist instead of giving such a bogus unrelated review, thanks for wasting my time.


Stephanie I would suggest giving the series another chance. It's been a while since you've read it and you might find that you like it now.

That's what's happening to me now that I'm rereading The Hobbit. I always hear how much people like it (and I love The Lord of the Rings series) so I decided I would give it another go to see if maybe I was just too young when I read it the first time.

Just a suggestion. Sorry you didn't enjoy the series though.


message 26: by J (new) - added it

J Monroe Good for you for getting 26 comments on your review. You're doing something right in spite of the haters. Please remember that haters hate because that's who they are and it has nothing to do with you.


message 27: by Merna (new) - added it

Merna I hated books such as lord of the rings and harry potter as a kid they were absolutely boring. But now I can't believe I ever did. It's almost crazy. I don't know if you can judge a book that you read 5-10 years ago as a kid. Mainly if you just read it to fit in a particular clique.


message 28: by Eli (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eli Show some respect for the greatest author ever. This book is a no doubt five star book!!!!!


message 29: by Somerandom (new) - added it

Somerandom Cute story. Didn't tell me much about the book, though.
I kind of feel the same way about Charles Dickens. I can't deny his influence on Literature and still watch Oliver Twist adaptions, but I needed a Google Translator to get through his books.
When I was a teenager I hated Dickens for being so verbose. Now, I find his books very bleak, but appreciate his use of language.

I suggest giving LOTR another shot. You tend to be an entirely different person once you're out of your teen years. I used to always type in Text language and not give a damn about grammar, punctuation and spelling. Now I'm keen to learn the ins and outs of the English language. (Though my grammar and punctuation still suck.)


message 30: by Tori (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tori Stuckey I loved LOTR, but I really enjoyed your review. I am shocked at how many people seem to have taken personal offense at the fact that you did not love their favorite book. I also am quite surprised that people are so disturbed by the type of review you wrote. I was unaware that there was only one appropriate way to write a review. I better be more careful with my own reviews to make sure that I am writing them the way everyone else wants me to write them.


message 31: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Bumpas I fell asleep before I finished reading your review.


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Sterckx Read it as prose poetry and once you have his rhythm the world falls into vivid, colourful focus.


Sophie Howells Linda I am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. It was a big part of my childhood and my love for it has not dimmed now that I'm in my 20s. However, your review was hilarious and so well written. Thanks for making me smile!


message 34: by George (new) - added it

George Book review plz not a life story!!!


message 35: by Kerri (new)

Kerri This was an interesting review.

I agree with some of the others-maybe you should try to read the books again.


Silas So... What did you think of the book?


Hazel Mier READ THEM AGAIN! I'm 12and I have read the first two in LOTR and the hobbit.


Megan Ha! I think your review is hysterical! I'm reading LOTR for the first time. I'm really enjoying it and understand why it's so important but it's nuts how cruel people gotin their comments to your review. you seem like a person that wouldn't care, which is why your story was so funny:) I loved it. Thanks for sharing


message 39: by Mara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mara Oh my GOD, what the hell is wrong with this people?! I had so much fun reading your review, and I totally agree with you...didn't like the books


Strazdas It seems that you are more interested in writing your high school stories than actual reviews. Are you really that lonely that you have to use book reviews of all places to complain about highschool?


Dalta Be more objective next, please. This is, after all, or, better put, above all, a network for REVIEWING. I do like a good hook and anecdote in reviews as much as the next guy, but you went WAY over the top.


message 42: by Sneakier (new) - added it

Thee Sneakier Hahah I respect your opinion and dont expect everyone to like this, but i'd suggest the peer pressure underwhich u forced yourself to read could've ruined it. Correct me by all means!


Mr. 12th Man dxdffgyg dont ask


Mr. 12th Man bad book


Robert Thompson If you read something to seem smarter, obviously you won't like it. Read it because the storyline intrigues you. Not because the smart kids you know like it.


Austin Bruce Haha okay. Anything to say about the book though?


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