Review: The Humans

The Humans
The Humans by Matt Haig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First impression, a few chapters in:
Mork calling Orson, Come in Orson.

For you readers out there who hear ‘aliens’ and ‘mathematics’ and think, ‘This book is not for me,” hang on. The alien bits are brief and really beside the point. The Humans is a lyrical and loving discovery of human (and dog) life in a wealthy college town. If you devoured Richard Bach books (Bridge Across Forever, Jonathan Livingston Seagull) in junior high or high school, reading <Humans will give you a little zotz of nostalgia and sweetness. If you enjoy language and a well-crafted sentence, you will find yourself wanting to jot down so many of the ways that the alien Andrew Martin describes his experiences and observances. Now that I’ve returned the book to the library, I do wish I had gone back and written all those down.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to feel good, who perhaps wants a reminder of why it’s all worthwhile. It’s also a great book for young (teen-college) readers who enjoy a little light profundity. (That sounds dismissive, but I don’t mean it that way.)

I liked this book, but here’s a quibble: There’s all this emphasis on the fact that humans solving the Riemann Hypothesis somehow endangers the universe, but it’s never made clear. Haig also alludes to advanced math and science but doesn’t include any of it (beyond some fun with prime numbers) in the actual book. It felt like he just tossed it out there but didn’t care if we believed it. In the end, it seems much more believable that the whole story is a narrative of one man’s return to life after a nervous breakdown.

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