Monday, February 10, 2014

The Humans by Matt Haig

When an extra-terrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a prominent mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete the gruesome task assigned him and hurry home to his own utopian planet, where everyone is omniscient and immortal.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, and is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this strange species than he had thought. Disguised as Martin, he drinks wine, reads poetry, develops an ear for rock music, and a taste for peanut butter. Slowly, unexpectedly, he forges bonds with Martin’s family. He begins to see hope and beauty in the humans’ imperfection, and begins to question the very mission that brought him there.

I really can't tell you much about this book other than READ IT. This book was seriously just an absolute joy from beginning to end. The opening chapters were darkly hilarious, and the book proceeded to get more serious and heartwarming (and heart crushing) as it went on. What really makes this book shine is the unique perspective of the narrator... distant enough from Earth society to get everything wrong, but familiar enough that we always know what he is referring to. But he doesn't just get it wrong, he gets it wrong in a way that makes perfect sense. So many things we do are so contrived and ridiculous, but it's just How Things Are. Matt Haig has really created a work of art.

I wanted to make this more of an actual review, but it turned out that all I had was love for this book. The writing is phenomenal. The story is equal parts funny and serious. This one is going on my favorites shelf!

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