Book Review: New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by John Gisby

17260Title: New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer
Author: John & Annette Gisby
Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions.

What should you do if your spouse becomes addicted to the Lord of the Rings movies and swoons at the very mention of Orlando Bloom’s name? (Thud. Quick, fetch the smelling salts.) How about taking the advice of a strange apparition that reveals itself in a dream? An apparition that looks remarkably like the director of the movies, Peter Jackson, but not quite remarkably enough to prompt legal action. An apparition that recommends touring New Zealand in an effort to prove that its sheep pastures aren’t really filled by frolicking Hobbits. Just sheep and the occasional zorbing local. This is the hilarious tale of such a tour, featuring snow capped mountains and turquoise lakes, flightless birds and flying cattle, bungy jumping grannies and the carrot mafia, strange yellow eyes peering up from a road map and hotel receptionists always desperate to know win you are living.

I’’ve never been to New Zealand before, but it’s one of my favorite must-see places, next to Egypt and China. So when I got the chance to read New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer, which combines two of my favorite things, New Zealand and Lord of the Rings, I had to read it. The book is well out of my comfort zone: it’s the first travel book I’ve read to date. But I enjoyed reading it, and I might try out a few more travel books in the future. John and Annette have a quirky, intriguing writing style that hops from humorous to serious in a light-hearted way. It engaged me from the first page. I was afraid the book would be a dry ramble of everything that happened while they were visiting New Zealand, but I was completely wrong. It’s the voice that makes the book interesting and a pleasure to read.

But what also interested me was the locations they visited. They went from north to south during their journey, visiting all places related to Lord of the Rings and several other memorable spots. I loved the almost-constant references to Lord of the Rings, because those would be the kind of places I would want to see as well, from the spot where they walk on mountains during the movie to where they filmed parts of it, to the hobbit towns. The authors use vivid, detailed descriptions to paint the settings, all the while without losing their original, humorous voice.

I loved the chapter titles as well. They were original and fun. One of the chapters was titled “New Zealand’s G-spot” which made me laugh out loud. But the best title goes to the glossary at the end, “For People Who Think Lord of the Rings is an Artistic Jeweller”. I also liked how John kept referring to his wife, Annette, co-author of the book, as “The Hobbit Botherer”. It’s a great term for Lord of the Rings fanatics.

If you love New Zealand and/or hobbits, Orlando Blooom (although I personally admit I found him way hotter in the Three Musketeers than in Lord of the Rings) or any other character or actor of LOTR, then give this book a try. It made me wish I had enough funds to travel to New Zealand right away, but alas. But it was fun to travel there while reading, even if it’s not the real thing.

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