Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1
Published October 12th 1979 by Pan Books

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. 
So this is the first time I've ever read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - a classic sci-fi book if ever there was one. Apparently it started off as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC before being adapted into plays, novels, comics, a television series, a video game and a film. Colour me surprised - I had no clue!  In any case, this came highly recommended a few years back by one of my few real life bookish friends and so it's been on my tbr shelf since then. I felt like as a sci-fi fan, this was one book I needed to read...and it turns out, I was right. Man, I had a blast with this book!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is like no other book I've read before.  The overall plot is creative, silly and even absurd at times but I wouldn't call it a plot-heavy book. Likewise, the characters are funny and likeable, while being simultaneously wholly unique and familiar....but I would call this a character-driven story.  And despite being a character and plot-driven reader, I loved this. Why? Because this book is an experience. The humor, the tone, the adventure strike a balance with the plot and characters that just works. This book made me think and it made me laugh. It immediately lightened my mood no matter what state I was in. I'd burst out laughing at the strangest things all of a sudden and instantly, I felt relaxed and content. It's the strangest experience I've had with a book but honestly? It was kind of perfect.

It didn't hurt that I listened to this on audio. Why? Because this was narrated by Stephen Fry, the guy who narrated the British editions of Harry Potter. Also know as my favorite of life!! He was as perfect in either stories which says a lot about his narrative style if you ask me. He perfectly captured the irreverent humor, the sense of wonderment, as well as the human and alien characters here. Slartibartfast almost had a Dumbledore-ish quality to him, which didn't hurt in the least!

Now I know I haven't said much about what actually happens here but I think that this is one of those books that needs to be experienced and not described. I didn't know any more than what's described in the blurb going in, other than my friend telling me: READ THIS. So I'm paying it forward: if the blurb sounds like something you'd enjoy and like me, you're still in the dark: READ THIS.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is witty, humorous adventurous and compelling. Yes, it's all of those things and it does them perfectly.  I know it won't be long before I continue the rest of the series :D

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

25 comments:

  1. I was just thinking of this book! And I had no idea either that it was a radio comedy! To be honest I started this book once and never finished it, but it was more I got sidetracked than that I didn't like it. Now I want to finish but it's been so long... maybe audio is the way to go. I do like the humorous, irreverent sound of it. And 5 stars! Wow- I need to finish this...

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    1. OK! So it wasn't just me - I had no clue either! I hope you do get back to it eventually in one form or another. It's really different but it's REALLY good too :D

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  2. 42.
    I never did see the movie, but I loved the book! Classic!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

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    1. YES. 42 for ever!

      I've never seen the movie either but I will do so now that I've read the book! A Classic for sure :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Oh man I read this book back when I was in HS and I remember loving it. It was such a ridiculously fun book and I am so glad you enjoyed it too! Great review!

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    1. Lucky! I wish I'd read this in HS! I'm glad you loved it too :D It really is ridiculously fun - I had the best time reading it!! Thank you xx

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  4. Oh my, I can imagine that listening to this book in Stephen Fry's voice must be a special experience! He's fantastic.

    It's been AGES since I read this one but I remember liking it a lot. It's funny and absurd and I definitely get why you said it's an experience - it's so imaginative! I'd pay good money for that Babel fish though. It would come in handy with my job. :)

    I saw the movie, too, it's kind of cool, but the book is better (duh).

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    1. It was AMAZING! He's a brilliant narrator - I just adore him!

      You describved it perfectly: funny, absurd and wicked created! It's smarter than it seems too, I was impressed by the deeper moments mixed in here.

      I want to see the movie now too but of course, the book is ALWAYS better! ;)

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  5. This is one I still have yet to read! I think when I do, audio will be the way to go as well. They couldn't have chosen a better narrator, Stephen Fry is just perfect for this!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. Really? I would have thought you'd have read this ages ago! Oh man, I can't recommend the audio version enough. Stephen Fry is peefection ♥

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  6. This is an all-time favorite of mine. I read it as a teenager, and I really need to read it again sometime. I think audio would be a great way to go!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. YAY! Oh that's awesome Nicole! I wish I'd read it back then but I am so happy I read it, regardless!! And yes, the audio was brilliant!

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  7. Can you believe I've had this on my shelves since forever, but I actually haven't read it yet, Micheline? I'm very happy you loved it!!
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. YES I CAN Lexxie because I'm only reading it NOW and lots of commenters have confessed to not reading it either! Thank you so much and I hope you get to read this some day :) Thank you, you too xxxx

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  8. I love that this book made you laugh out loud! :D And it must've been so wonderful to listen to with Stephen Fry as the narrator! I don't read a whole bunch of sci-fi, but it definitely sounds like I need to pick this one up!

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    1. It really did and Stephen Fry was perfect at getting those humorous moments across! I never used to read much sci-fi either but I LOVE watching it so last year I decided to make an effort and add more to my fantasy-diet LOL! If there's no dragons, there had better be spaceships XD

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  9. I just reviewed this book recently myself (although I listened to an older version read by the author). It really is the kind of book that people who don't like this kind of book still like (yes, that sentence is complicated on purpose).

    My Review

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    1. Well said! That's so cool that you read this recently too^^ Oh and the way you put that sentence reminds me of this book haha!

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  10. Ooo, a friend of mine had been reading this book! I honestly didn't know much about it, especially that it was so popular. I suppose I'll have to experience this experience, eh? ;) It sounds like great sci-fi (which I love).

    Fabulous review, Micheline!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. NICE. It'd been on my radar because a good friend recommended it to me years back...other than that, I knew of it but I didn't know much. It was really an experience of a book - if you love sci-fi, I think you'll enjoy this :) Thank you! xx

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  11. I haven't read the book, but I did see the movie. I love that the audio narrator is so good at doing both styles of books. I imagine a funny book would be harder to get all of the lines delivered well and then to do a dramatic series as well proves his range for sure. Great review!

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    1. Exactly! Stephen Fry really nailed the humor and the gravitas that waa needed here! I need to watch the movie now :D Thank you my friend! ♥

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  12. Say whatt?? So many new pieces of information... I had no idea that this used to be a radio broadcast, etc., nor that Stephen Fry (also my fave) narrated the audio. Count me in!! Honestly, we could all do with a little more humour in our reading!

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    1. ME.NEITHER. I'd never heard tell! And oh man, Stephen Fry reading this pretty much made my life - he's soooo good. It made the whole experience emotional for me because of the HP-feels LOL!

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  13. I've read this book a few times, but I've never managed to get to the rest of the series. I'll have to work on that.

    Hang on, how did I NOT KNOW THAT STEPHEN FRY NARRATED THE HARRY POTTER AUDIOS? That is an experience I CANNOT and WILL NOT miss out on. Granted, I'm most familiar with Stephen Fry as Jeeves, so I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this idea, but I'm fascinated by it at the same time. I need to find these.

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