“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 5/5 | Genre – Sci-fi/Fiction

Thank god for grandparents! This is once again another book that was given to me by my wonderful Granny as a christmas present recently. I’ve wanted this book for many years, having loved the movie for just as long; oh no I’m seeing a pattern between this and my the last book I read (see that here). Clearly I’m some sort of sci-fi book binge, who knows how long it’ll last, but for now I’ll continue to dive in the wonderful world of dystopian futures and deep space.

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed, in large friendly letters, with the words: DON’T PANIC. (Check it out here)

What did I think?

I’m so glad that I finally got to read this book. As is mentioned in Russel T. Davis’ foreward, this is a book that was popular among school children in the 80s, and it isn’t surprising to see why. From the very beginning I was taken in by the absolute hilarity and absurdity of this sci-fi romp.

As someone with a rather silly/sarcastic sense of humour it was so fun to read a story narrated with such a similar tone to my own. It really leans in to the oddness of space, while remaining fairly grounded by the very British humour throughout.

Although, there is a lot happening and different characters introduced, there was never a moment when I felt lost – instead always able to see these new characters and see how they perfectly fit into the story. It also managed to avoid losing the plot in the absolute mania of the sci-fi jargon that is introduced throughout the story, explaining (just about) how the science works in this universe without detracting from the plot.

Reasons to read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…

  • Hilarious narration: As I’ve mentioned, Douglas Adams narration is what really makes this book. It is British humour in its purest form; teetering the line of dark/dry humour and sarcastic wit. There were moments where, even though what was being described was absolutely absurd, I couldn’t help but find myself laughing.
  • Simple plot, yet never boring: The first book in this widely popular sci-fi series can be described as a fairly simple space adventure, however, it is Adams’ narration that makes it so much more. He really explores the lengths of oddness that could potentially be found in space and adds it to world surrounding the plot, making Arthur Dent’s adventure much more interesting and hilarious.
  • Full of bizarre anecdotes: Now, the plot may be simple and easy to understand. However, there are a number of just strange mini-stories that take place in other parts of space. They are very much “blink and you’ll miss it” moments yet, they’re just hilarious. A particular favourite being the sperm whale and the petunias (read it and find out why).

At the end of the day…

I was drawn to this book through my love of the film, something I’d enjoyed for many years, so I was very happy to find that the book is just as good. Both have this silly sarcastic humour that I really enjoy, while offering a really unique space adventure that will have people of all ages enjoying.

It will now be my mission for this year to find more of Adams’ books and give them a read as well. Thinking about it, I might need to give the movie another watch – it has been a while.


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