Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

Published by Canongate books, May 2013.

17169140Goodreads Synopsis: It’s hardest to belong when you’re closest to home…One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world’s greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears. When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he’s a dog. Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife’s eyes?

My Review: The Humans is a book that’s so, so easy to get lost in. I began it not entirely sure what I was in for, but I ended up reading the whole book in quite a short space of time, experiencing what I think is best described as a very unique book.

The book begins with a maths professor, who wakes up on a motorway, clueless, not sure of where he is: But he’s actually not a maths professor anymore. A being form another planet has been sent down to inhabit his body; to eradicate any evidence of the maths problem Professor Martin solved that could change everything- and that includes killing the people close to the professor. It sounds like a heavy Sci-Fi novel, but really it’s not. Matt Haig uses a really unique idea to portray humans in a really clever way. It’s packed with emotion, uplifting scenes, and laugh-out-loud humor. It just… works.

I was giggling madly from the first few pages, where the… New professor is trying to work out how humans operate and their weird customs. It’s so funny, and makes you realise that we’re all seriously weird. There are a lot of moments that make you laugh, but the book also deals with a family that’s drifting apart, and it really tugs at your heart strings.

The characters are all so well developed, and I could connect really well with all of them: especially professor Martin’s son, and the alien inhabiting the professor.  Despite him doing some stupid, wacky things, the extra terrestrial’s actually a really good narrator. I grew really attached to him, even though the book isn’t the longest!

Overall, The Humans is definitely a book to buy, no matter what side you’re more interested in: The contemporary, family aspects, or the sci-fi elements. It’s a book I really wish I’d written- I say that quite often about books, but I really mean that here! Matt Haig’s writing is descriptive, powerful and moving. It feels so real… I’m slightly scared Matt’s actually an alien inhabiting a human body- he wrote this so convincingly… Definitely recommended to YA and Adult readers, it’s an unforgettable novel.

My Rating:



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