The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
★★★★★
 
It’s been almost a decade since the first time I read this book. Years later I realized it was just as hilarious when I reread it as it was the first time around. Adams created characters and situations that make you laugh out loud no matter where you are. His droll sense of humor is legendary and just when your stomach stops hurting from laughing, he throws you another curveball, like an alien race that tortures people by making them listen to horrible poetry.

It all starts with a quiet British man named Arthur Dent who unknowingly hitches a ride on a spaceship just before the earth is destroyed. This book is the first in a five part "trilogy" featuring a small band of oddballs who travel through space. The main characters include unforgettable individuals like Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian.

My two personal favorites are Dent, whose bumbling, sweet-natured confusion is irresistible and Marvin, a depressed robot who is constantly bemoaning the fact that no one listens to him. I also have a soft spot for Deep Thought, the mega computer created to answer the question of the meaning of life. 

It’s impossible to fully capture just what it is about this book that I love so much. Yes, it’s funny, but there more to it. In Dent we have a relatable lead that is completely confused by his new space surroundings. He is human, in every sense of the word, so we understand his bafflement and we root for him.
There’s one scene that has always remained my favorite. It is quintessential Adams, completely absurd and yet oddly poignant. Without explaining the circumstances in too much detail, we have a whale and a potted petunia falling from the sky. The whale is in awe of everything he sees and the petunia thinks… “Oh no, not again.” 

BOTTOM LINE: One of my absolute favorite books of all time. I would recommend Adam's writing to most people, but I would say if you love Monty Python's sense of humor these books are an absolute must. Sit back and enjoy the ridiculousness and don't forget your towel.

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.”

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

7 comments:

Andi said...

I have yet to read this one, and THAT is a travesty! I own it, though. Maybe because it's on my Nook I rarely think about it. Hmmm.

Jill Powers said...

I'm older than you, so it's been longer since I read it. But that part about torture through poetry makes me want to read it again right now!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Andi - It just never fails to crack me up.

Jill - I was definitely craving a reread of it and I'm so glad it didn't disappoint.

52booksorbust said...

At some point I really must put my pretensions away and read this. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

52booksorbust - This is another one that my Dad introduced me too. The humor is just so funny, but I'm sure it's not for everyone.

Emilio Pasquale said...

This book was recommended to me by my step daughter and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I started it a long time ago but could never make it through even the first chapter. Maybe I've finally grown up? Hopefully not! I am finally taking life less seriously, and enjoying it more.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Emilio - This book always cheers me up, no matter what!