Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Author: Douglas Adams
Genre: YA Science-fiction
Target Audience: Teens - Adults
Number of Pages: Paperback - 216 pages
Just yesterday, I had concluded my adventure throughout the galaxy with Zaphod Beeblebrox- the president of the galaxy; Trillian- Zaphod’s girlfriend; Arthur Dent- your average earthling; Ford- a hitchhiker who came down to earth from his small home planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse; and Marvin- a highly intelligent yet clinically depressed robot. In a universe where bath towels are the most important aid one can own, you can expect many other crazy things in this book. The story begins with Arthur Dent and his little house in England, which is about to be demolished to make way for a new bypass. Abruptly and out of nowhere, Arthur’s friend Ford proclaims the end of the world. He is right. Right then, aliens blow up the Earth in to millions of pieces and disintegrate all its inhabitants. Fortunately since Ford knows about the demolition of the Earth in advance, he and Arthur are able to hitch a ride on the alien ship. Through a series of very improbable events, Arthur and Ford make their way into Zaphod and Trillian’s newly stolen ship, thus beginning their epic quest to the forgotten planet of Magrathea to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
First of all, let us not deceive you with misconceptions and false assumptions. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is not a so-called “guy book.” This is a whimsical novel for all to enjoy: boys, girls, and Magratheans alike.
Carrying on, I must say that I cannot give a solid confirmation on whether I like this book or not. We share a bit of a love-hate relationship.
An aspect that I truly marvel about in this novel is the real originality the story possesses. I honestly can’t name another title where you can find aliens who can’t read poetry, a pitiful sperm whale, a friendly and over-enthusiastic computer, and a crew of planet builders all jam-packed into this short, comical novel This leads us into another honorable aspect of the book.
The humor in which Adams presents actually made me chuckle, which is an accomplishment. I’m not saying that I rarely laugh, but merely noting how hard it is to try to crack successful jokes. Adams’ kind of humor is more suitable for more mature readers, for the large words that he tends to use might cause younger readers to get a little confused. The irony and randomness in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is what makes the book entertaining.
However, I feel like the author goes out of his way to try to make things funny and that causes him to get sidetracked. A lot of the times, he adds unnecessary segments that stir up confusion. In my perspective, the lengthy paragraphs he writes to make things funny causes the plot to become unorganized and sloppy and loses the reader’s focus. The book lacked a plot and combined with those excess portions, it became a bit difficult to read. Several times throughout my journey with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I found myself slumping more and slipping off into my own reveries.
Though the book is quite funny at some parts, and the ideas displayed are original, a real plot was absent and the book was story-deprived. I give this novel a 3.5/5 for originality and creativity, but I felt it could have been better. From seeing the film first, I expected the book to be quite funny. And yes, it did deliver that aspect yet the book was sloppily assembled. This is a light read for anyone who has an appetite for entertainment.
Cover: 3/5 - I quite like the cover. I think it's cute and I would probably pick it up if i saw it in the bookstore. However, I'm not really sure what that green thing is on it. Is it a pea or what because I'm really not sure. It looks sort of like a vacationer with the whole camera and suitcase get-up so perhaps it is a hitchhiker? So basically, 3/5 for the attractive design, but I don't see how that pea thing connects to the story. I assure you that the book did not mention any peas.
On the contrary, the cover of the copy that I picked up from my local book sale was completely different. It was published by Ballatine Books and I give it 1.5 /5. The cover art is irrelevant, and frankly, it's just sort of ugly. The only reason I even picked it up was because I knew of the title from the movie. I know that you should never judge a book by its cover, but its just quite unappealing in my opinion. Have a look for yourself, to the right.
Source: A small book sale held at my local library.
-Reviewed by Rica Eat World