There's a Hole in my Bucket

A Journey of Two Brothers

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Pub Date 01 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2021

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An inspirational, life-affirming memoir from the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Having grown up on their great-grandfather’s stories, Royd Tolkien and his brother, Mike, have always enjoyed adventures. So when Mike is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, also known as ALS, the brothers decide to use the time they have left to tick off as much as possible from Mike’s bucket list, from remote camping in Norway to travelling through Royd’s beloved New Zealand.

Yet, when Royd loses Mike, he discovers his brother had been writing another kind of bucket list: fifty things he wanted Royd to do after his death. His first task? Mike wants his mild-mannered brother to trip up on his way to the lectern to deliver his eulogy. What follows is a set of emotionally charged tests that will push Royd firmly out of his comfort zone.

This is the story of Royd’s journey to accomplish a challenging, humorous, and often heartbreaking list of unknown tasks that chart the brothers’ lives from childhood to adulthood. But above all, it is a story of the sibling bond, of grief—and of treasuring every moment.

An inspirational, life-affirming memoir from the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Having grown up on their great-grandfather’s stories, Royd Tolkien and his brother, Mike, have always enjoyed...

A Note From the Publisher

As the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, Royd grew up on a diet of storytelling and entertainment, with the characters of The Hobbit firmly entrenched in his imagination. Following acting roles in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Royd was inspired to become a producer. He went on to produce two films and was developing more when, in 2012, his younger brother, Mike, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Royd put everything on hold to care for Mike until he passed away, on 28 January 2015. Since then, Royd has completed There’s a Hole in My Bucket, a feature length documentary that follows his journey around New Zealand fulfilling the bucket list bequeathed to him by Mike. He lives in Wales.

As the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, Royd grew up on a diet of storytelling and entertainment, with the characters of The Hobbit firmly entrenched in his imagination. Following acting roles in...

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ISBN 9781542027571
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for giving me the opportunity to review this book. This book made me laugh and cry...sometimes at the same time! Memoirs are quickly becoming some of my favorite books.

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Heart warming story of a brother carry out a bucket his dying brother left. really enjoyed it - quick read

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I was an emotional mess reading this one but I loved it nonetheless! Fantastic read. Story well told! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Royd Tolkien is a great grandson of JR Tolkien (of Hobbit fame), something he makes much of in the book. The book revolves around the death of his much loved younger brother Mike from motor neurone disease, and the challenges he set for Royd to do after his death. The book feels quite self-indulgent, and is not particularly well written. The idea behind it was to publicise and raise money for research into motor neurone disease, and to memorialise Mike, but I feel it was also cathartic for Royd to be able to come to terms with his brother's loss. He intended to use his experiences to make a film for the same purpose. The reader does learn about motor neurone disease and the shocking path of the disease, and it is mildly entertaining to read about the challenges and how he tackled them. However, I had a problem with the writing style which was quite colloquial and bounced around the timelines, including snippets of Mike's life as well as how Royd tackled the bucket list. Throughout it all we feel his deep love for his brother, but that isn't really enough to satisfy the reader that they are enjoying reading this book. Clearly Royd has some sort of private income, as he can afford trips to New Zealand and to undertake all the adventures Mike had planned for him. He also shamelessly uses his famous name to gain advantage and achieve what he wants to do. Overall it was mildly entertaining, but would have benefited from some serious editing. I wouldn't particularly recommend it to friends and certainly won't be looking out for the film. Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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1.5 stars. I made it 50% through the book before calling it quits due mostly to language, crudeness, and vulgarity. I felt the book had sooooo much promise. I was beyond excited to read it, granted mostly because Royd is the great-grandson of JRR Tolkien (my favorite author). But…the two are incredibly different people, and I felt the apple had fallen way too far from the tree in this read. The story could be very compelling, and is when it sticks to the topic (Royd and Mike’s sibling relationship), and I naturally loved the stories about places I’d also visited in New Zealand, or about Royd’s experiences on the LOTR and Hobbit sets. So much overlap in that regard kept me reading far longer than I would have on most any other book with the aforementioned content issues (for me, personally), which made the read that much more disappointing. I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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This book was very powerful, following a man who has to complete the bucket list his younger brother left for him after dying from ALS. The author does a great job of establishing their relax shop talking about their childhood, then how it changed as they got older. Both brothers were very adventurous so the bucket list has some extreme challenges on it. The author is the great- grandson of the man who wrote the Hobbit so there’s a lot of references to that throughout the book. If you’re a fan of the Hobbit, you will greatly enjoy this! Overall, this story is incredibly moving and I highly recommend it!

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What a wonderful book about loss and life. Royd Tolkein really has a beautiful way of sharing his loss of his brother and the bucket list left to fulfill. A difficult book to read only in the descriptions of MND (ALS) and the struggle those face with the disease. I truly loved reading this and learning about Royd's experience. My heart hurts for his loss but the whole experience surrounding the book and his adventures in it, is inspiring. There are moments that will make you cry but also ones that will make you laugh and still others that make your jaw drop.

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Three themes detail the emotional tale of two brothers, and the inevitable loss of one due to MND. A bucket list, designed by one brother to be completed by the other, provides adventure, travel and a reflection on how and whether extreme physical and/or emotional experiences shape our lives. The story of Mike, and his journey with MND (or ALS) is the hardest but most necessary part of the book. Throughout he remained the heroic figure his brother set out to capture, whose sense of loss reverberates deeply even over the light-hearted bits. It is not an easy topic to read about, and the natural tendency is to wish that you don’t have to know. But there is a sense of honesty and clarity that reminds you of the love and sacrifice that surrounds experiences that no one would wish upon their greatest enemy. Imagining the pain and suffering of all the parties involved puts your own life into perspective. The third theme that surfaces is a claim to fame due to the Tolkien name, and everything that entails. This is the part that felt a bit incongruous, especially considering that the book was written by the (apparently multi-talented) accompanying cameraman and not the Tolkien heir himself. That being said, the style of the book felt authentic and it definitely succeeds in raising awareness around this disease. It is a heartbreaking story, but one that will stick with you a lot longer than the memory of an ice-bucket challenge.

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This was a beautifully told memoir by Royd, great grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. It was achingly honest, heartbreaking at times but also lighthearted with moments of humor. Royd was fulfilling the bucket list for his brother, Mike, who had passed away from motor neurons disease (aka ALS), and you could just feel the love these brothers shared for each other coming off each page. This is a very touching must-read.

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There's a Hole in my Bucket by Royd Tolkien was a very interesting read. I found this book a well-written account of two brothers 'Royd and Mike Tolkien's journey through the heartbreak of motor neurone disease. Mike who was the younger of Royd wrote a bucket list and the challenges which he set for Royd to do after his death. Their grandfather Tolkien was an amazing creative author of J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit, Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review

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Royd and Mike Tolkein are the great grandsons of J.R.R. Tolkein of the Lord of the Rings, fame. This is Royd's memoir of his life with his younger brother who has Motor Neuron Disease (ALS). Mike had left a bucket list for his brother to complete so that Royd would fully live life and get out of his comfort zone. This put Royd in many situations he would otherwise not be in, but it provided a different way for him to grieve, I have to admit that I did not finish this book. It was enjoyable enough, but I did not feel like I needed to know more about the antics that Royd was sent on,. I had a cousin who passed from ALS. It is a horrible disease. I applaud Royd for bringing attention to the disease and the cause of raising money for development of a cure or treatment., My Thanks to NetGalley for the Arc of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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