The Humans – Book Review

Just having completed this book yesterday, I decided to write about it while it was still fresh in my memory. This particular book was the second of Matt Haig’s narrative stories that I had read, following ‘The Midnight Library’. In the past I had already read two of his non-fiction books, ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ and ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’, which were fascinating and satisfying in equal measures.

Aliens are never that easy to spot. Especially when they appear human.

Summary

When a Cambridge professor has a breakthrough linked to prime numbers, an alien is sent to inhabit his body and destroy anyone else who knows about his findings. He can not be allowed to enlighten the human race because such powerful knowledge puts other life forms at risk.

The alien who becomes him is not used to emotions such as love and sadness, or even physical pain. Over time he realises that living on Earth is fascinating and his feelings gradually start to get in the way of his task.

Review

Written in Matt’s typically short chapters (which I love, by the way) this book really explores what it is like to be human. When the alien finds himself living in the professor’s home, he discovers just how tricky having a wife and kid can be. He learns about what it is like to care about someone and have them care about him. His inner monologue is great as he often observes normal human things like listening to music or looking after a dog as if they are peculiar and pointless.

The character, who is never given a name, is ruthless in trying to find out who exactly knows about the theorem and does everything he can to wipe all links to that knowledge, but soon starts to feel uncomfortable about having to pop off his family in order to finish his mission and go back home. You feel him being pulled at from all directions and start to empathise with him as he juggles his responsibilities.

Matt unpicks human behaviour cleverly. It makes you think about how odd some of our traditions and routines might seem when seen by outsiders. Anyone landing on our planet for the first time must wonder why we spend so much time arguing or sleeping rather than making the most of every second. Often humorous in his writing, Matt tells a story that is entertaining, emotional and informative.

I totally rate this book 5 out of 5. Definitely read a sample for yourself and let me know what you make of it using the comments bar. Also, if you enjoyed my article, please consider checking out another post about The Midnight Library here. Perhaps also follow my blog as it grows steadily, thanks to wonderful readers like you.

More Incredible Authors

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about some amazing writers who really impressed me with their work and this week I have two more to recommend. After demonstrating why Liane Moriarty, John Boyne and Joanne Harris are high on my list of authors, now I want to talk about Matt Haig and Celeste Ng.

Books to read in the bath, in bed or on a train.

What makes a writer great? (In my view)

Well, for me a great writer is somehow who can captivate me again and again. Both of these writers cover different genres and have quite distinct styles. In each case I have found myself absorbed in their fictional worlds and come out asking lots of questions, eager to know more.

Matt Haig

If you have ever watched my Youtube channel you will know that Matt Haig has given me plenty to talk about with his books which delve into mental health issues. The thoughtful ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ non-fiction best seller was inspired by Matt’s own depression and discusses this subject in detail, whilst showing how important it is to be positive.

This was followed by the brilliant ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet’ which covered all sorts of things causing us modern day stress. His books have short chapters, often use lists and include quotations. This book particularly analysed the power that social media has over our lives and how it can prevent us from sleeping.

Following reading the brilliant ‘The Midnight Library’ last year I decided to try another of his fictional stories, called ‘The Humans’. For my previous blog post about ‘The Midnight Library’ check out this article: https://jamieadstories.blog/2021/06/16/books-that-more-than-satisfied/

The Humans

A Cambridge Professor has his body inhabited by an alien who is trying to stop his mathematical findings being released . The discovery would be detrimental to other life forms and so the alien is determined to wipe anyone out who already knows about the lecturer’s results.

Weirdly, the alien quite enjoys inhabiting the professor’s body and engaging with his wife and son.

Matt Haig writes consistently well in fiction and non-fiction genres. He is insightful, witty and is not afraid to cover challenging topics.

Celeste Ng

I discovered Celeste Ng after hearing about Reece Witherspoon turning one of her stories into a TV Drama. Deciding to read it before the series came out, I was so pleased to find out that the book was exceptionally well structured and completely compelling,

Celeste quickly became an important author to me, and though she only has two published books so far, her skilful way with words is undeniable.

Little Fires Everywhere

With a family who live in a small town which is wholesome and predictable, the story begins by introducing a mother and daughter to the mix. Renting a room from the Richardsons in Shaker Heights, a place where the length of the grass is regulated, Mia and her daughter are an unlikely spot.

The book starts near the end as we discover the Richardson’s house on fire. Soon, we are taken back to the twisted events that led to this event, stemming from that very first appearance by Mia and her teenage daughter, Pearl.

Following this book, I read the stunning ‘Everything I Never Told You’ which discusses an American-Chinese household dealing with the aftermath of a tragic death. Yet again, Celeste’s chapters bounce back and forth in time, delicately unlocking a harrowing tale of jealousy, resentment and teenage angst.

Both Celeste Ng and Matt Haig are talented writers who never fail to impress. Friends of mine have gone on to read their books and enjoyed them enough to try other books by them. I would recommend downloading a sample of their work and seeing if you like their writing styles.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and will consider following my blog.

Writers You Will Love Discovering

I have really got into blogging this month and enjoyed becoming part of the brilliant blogging community. As a reading blogger I felt I should write about some of the authors who influence me most and inspire me as a reader. In this post I mention contemporary writers who have produced high standard narratives that kept me fully engaged.

Do you fancy trying out books by different authors?

Joanne Harris

Anyone who knows me will be aware of the fact that I love Joanne’s writing style. She usually writes in short chapters and often in the first person, with alternative chapters written through the eyes of different characters.

I read her novel, ‘Chocolat’ and then went on to watch the movie. Both were wonderful and the storyline about a woman taking over a Chocolate shop in a rather traditional, stuck-in-its-ways village in France, was immediately captivating. The way that she used the preparation of food and language related to taste and smell really intrigued me so I went on to read more of her work. As well as her French books, she has quirky novellas based on Folklore. She also wrote two books about the Norse God Loki. All of her work is entertaining, descriptive and well written.

Joanne has a new thriller novel out called ‘A Narrow Door’. It follows on from her books set in a stuck-in-its-ways private old school. She also has a series of short stories revolving around new fairy tales for adults. It’s called ‘Honeycomb’ and the art work is wonderful,

Liane Moriarty

Seeing Nicole Kidman on the front of a book called ‘Big Little Lies’ I was intrigued to read the story before I then sat down and watched the HBO series. Both were fantastic but Liane’s writing style totally sucked me in and I was soon checking out her other work. Later I went on to read ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ which I have reviewed previously on my blog. https://jamieadstories.blog/2021/06/16/books-that-more-than-satisfied/

She writes in the ‘close third person’ and is able to bring some very modern characters to life. Her writing is clever and relatable. The way that she gives away nuggets of detail in the conversations is seamless. I am totally hooked on her books which include ‘The Hypnotist’s Love Story’ where Ellen’s new boyfriend comes with the baggage of an ex who happens to be a stalker. The hypnotist becomes fascinated by the other woman and their paths cross in a twisted story of jealousy and discomfort.

John Boyne

It was quite random that I came across a book of short stories in Apple Books that led me to becoming a fan of John Boyne. ‘Beneath the Earth’ has a range of stories with varying contexts including one about a university student who didn’t want his initials ‘B.S’ to be inscribed on his student card for reasons that soon became clear.

All of his writing is witty and often quite thought-provoking. His sharp words can sometimes be alarming as he never holds back in trying to show a real picture of life for the colourful characters that he describes. When reading his short book called ‘The Dare’ you get to know a boy whose mother seems to have run over another kid and put him in hospital. Meanwhile the main character befriends the unconscious boy’s sister. A peculiar premise for a heart-wrenching tale.

These writers all have distinctive styles and write compelling narratives that draw readers in and never fail to put a smile on their faces. I totally recommend checking out one of their books soon.

If you enjoyed this post then perhaps consider following my blog for more content about incredible authors and brilliant books.