Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Book Review (Or Something like That): The Humans by Matt Haig

I first found Matt Haig through a blog post of his: a passionate, yet witty, piece about how book snobs are poisonous to the entire reading community (which is ironic because I was, and probably still am, a huge book snob. If you don't want to be on the recieving end of my extreme-judge-face, don't let me catch you reading 50 Shades of Grey or Twilight), and I loved his serious, but funny, writing.
         When I read of his history of depression and watched his funny videos, I realized that it was not just his writing that was an intriguing combination of depth and humor. Matt Haig is a man who takes you to the depths of his solitude, but makes you laugh all the while. He's funny, and he's heartwarming; he makes me laugh, and he makes me cry- sometimes even at the same time. 

The Humans - Matt Haig

(The synopsis is in italics. Please don't skip this! It's like a book trailer. Made of words. It's a word trailer!!)

Body-snatching has never been so heartwarming . . .

The Humans is a funny, compulsively readable novel about alien abduction, mathematics, and that most interesting subject of all: ourselves. Combine Douglas Adams’s irreverent take on life, the universe, and everything with a genuinely moving love story, and you have some idea of the humor, originality, and poignancy of Matt Haig’s latest novel.

Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man--as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son--who have no idea he’s not the real Andrew--the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.

Who could be a more objective observer of humans than an alien from outer-space?

I started reading this book with a belief that it would be just as iconoclastic as my (secretly-anarchist) heart is, but my first impressions (as always) were wrong; as it turned out, this book wasn't really about criticizing the triviality of our society. No, it was far more interested in the deeper lines that govern it (Deeper even than how Botox makes one feel younger, and how fashion magazines are just advertising giants that are as concerned for your self-esteem as they are for last's season Prada bag..).
The objective, out-of-this-world protagonist observer is just confused as I am when he reads the Cosmopolitan: his first piece of written information about our planet. Through a number of what would be considered-awkward-if-he-was-human moments (only made worse by his newly attained knowledge from that extremely important commentary of the fashion world), life on Earth is ridiculed to my heart's content as he questions again and again what the human purpose of life is. But that is the end of the iconoclasm, and the beginning of a book built on thoughts, emotions, and explanations. An understanding of what does and does not make us human. It was so beautiful that even my non-conformist heart was warmed with pride of our species, and a sudden need to say loud and proud that I'm an irrational, contradictionary, condescending, but totally loving human being.

I would have quoted a particularly enlightening passage to emphasize my point, but then I would have ended up with an unreadable-long review :)
This book has been beautiful. A must-read if there ever was one.

This review is also featured on my goodreads page. 

To ensure complete some amount of objectivity, and because I only really had to read the synopsis of this book to know that it is exactly what I am looking for, here are a few others, of the Goodreads community, who agree with me :)

"The world is divided into those who have read this book and those who have not." - Mark Matthews

" [this book] made me laugh out loud, cringe with embarrassment, ache with loneliness, radiate with love." - Jackie


  1. Hahah word trailer! Why didn't I thought of that? xD
    Anyway, you are right. Matt is funny. I really like reading his posts. Maybe, that means I'll like his book too.
    The Book Ponderer

    1. Haha yeah. You should really read Matt Haig; he's awesome!
      Thanks for reading :)

  2. This book seems so amazing! I can't wait to read it :) Also, great review on your part.

    Cucie @ Cucie reads