Walking with Bilbo: A devotional adventure through The Hobbit. Sarah Arthur. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2005. 194pp.

All fiction parallels life. That’s why we read it. However, certain books and stories resonate with us on a deeper level. Sarah Arthur’s, Walking with Bilbo, revolves around J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, and the book’s ability to grab the reader on a spiritual level due to the story’s fundamental themes being primarily Christian. Tolkien, though he was quick to point out that he had not set out to write an allegory, affirmed his awareness of these thematic issues.

Throughout, Walking with Bilbo, Sarah Arthur takes scenes from The Hobbit and compares the hardships the character Bilbo faces and the choices he must make with those of Christians as they embark on an adventure of faith. At the end of each chapter, Arthur poses questions to the reader concerning these comparisons and suggests the reading of certain Bible passages that illustrate the Christian themes.

I enjoyed reading Walking with Bilbo. I found the straight-forward prose refreshing and many of the comparisons enlightening. I have my doubts that non-Christian Tolkien aficionados would enjoy the book. However, I would recommend it to Christians who harbor a sometimes secret love of fantasy.

For purposes of this review, I was supplied by the publisher, Tyndale House, with a copy of Walking with Bilbo.

– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer