Book Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

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Format: Paperback
Publisher: Canongate Books
Published: July 2013
Pages: 285 Pages

The Blurb
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.

Rating: 4/5


The Review
Given that I really enjoyed Reasons To Stay Alive I felt that it wouldn’t hurt to read another of Matt’s novels and in result, I decided upon The Humans.

Told by an alien imposter, The Humans explains how planet Earth behaves and is essentially a guide on the human species. The alien takes over a mathematician’s body and tries to live a normal and human life, but he has a mission and that’s to kill everyone that knows of any developments with the mathematical theory. Professor Andrew Martin’s body becomes host to the alien and that’s who the alien needs to behave like.

At first he acts in a really peculiar way, one, because he’s not familiar with human life and two, because he’s on a murder mission – two very difficult things to adjust too!

I have to admit that my first thoughts weren’t that positive because I often found it annoying how one minute the alien didn’t understand what certain objects were and then the next could explain something else quite easily. Take for example he didn’t have an idea about what packet food was, but then knew about how a computer worked – just little bits like that. However, I will bite my own words and say that once I got into the story and read about how the alien dealt with human life I really enjoyed it. It’s true that human life is jam – packed full with emotions and everything we do is based on some feeling or another. The alien became incredibly close to Andrew’s wife Isobel and son Gulliver, he actually helped them become happier and made them realise that being on Earth was something to smile about!

The Humans had an element of Mental Health laced within, which seems to be a common feature within Matt’s novels. Most of the time, I didn’t think that Andrew was in fact an alien more than he was suffering from a mental health illness and the alien was his second mind, schizophrenia if you like.


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