This book is of two minds. It wants to tell you about this great epic battle in New Zealand that produced this astonishing trilogy going on to conquer the world. And it wants you to tell about the life and times of Sean Astin, the director-actor. It shoud have been a rare opportunity to travel with a fellow director into this epic journey, meeting that other director and actors and getting a first-hand account of the makings of Lord of the Rings. But it didn't quite work out that way.
It is indeed a journey, a bumpy road full of unexpected twists and turns. But the authors (it was co-written by Joe Layden, who'd also written ""The Rock says...") didn't get it quite right. The problem is that a reader may expect indeed a book about the filming of this epic and Sean Astin's role in it or view about it. Instead it has become an (auto)biography of Astin, with Lord of the Rings as background. And that's too much. I think Astin is a gifted director, and his role of Samwise Gamgee in the movies is admirable. But just when you think that you''re packed to enjoy this bumpy ride the author is digressing. A lot. It is really annoying that he can't get a straight story out of it. Time and again we're thrown back to Astin's other endeavours as actor or director, following out-of-sync roads to other journeys including the path of self-realization, marred by a tone of whining and moaning about the bad things in his life.
This I could bear if the author(s) had stuck to the idea of a book about the life and times of Astin, but now it is sold on the bandwagon that is called "Lord of the Rings", and that doesn't sound right. I've the feeling that Astin, a director in his own right, never has gotten beyond that part.
Astin has the right to write from his point of view as director-actor. But pride of place should have been Lord of the Rings. Not the other way around, for then you're onto a circular road, narrower than the Ring ever has been.