When I first read about The Humans, the premise interested me. I’ve read body snatcher books where the alien gives the reader a new perspective on humanity, but often that’s just a part of the story. In Matt Haig’s The Humans, it’s the whole story. It’s an alien detailing a memoir of sorts on being human and all the humanity around him. Because of that, The Humans is a refreshing, inventive and resounding book.
Narrated by Mark Meadows, we follow Professor Andrew Martin—or who everyone else thinks in Prof. Andrew Martin. A gifted mathematician, Andrew, has just made a huge breakthrough, something that will advance the human race significantly. That cannot be allowed to happen, according to a certain species of aliens, who are infinitely smarter and technologically advanced than the humans. So they send in one alien to replace Andrew Martin, destroy all evidence of his discovery and kill anyone he may have told about it. The new Andrew is greatly perturbed by humans at first, and as he spends more time on Earth, it’s fascinating to see him truly understand what it means to be a human.
The Humans is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read… ever. Its inventive premise and unique voice really touches on every aspect of humanity, including the wonder, terror and beauty behind it all. Watching Andrew transition from tolerating his human family to unconditionally loving them is remarkable. This outsider’s perspective really lets the reader see the wonder of our lives, the moments that we for sure feel but don’t quite see.
Haig captures all the emotions and interactions authentically. There are so many times I found myself pausing just to reflect on a moment in my life. Mark Meadows does an excellent job of narrating, starting with more of robotic, brusque tone to eventually something softer and warmer as Andrew becomes less alien and more human.
While this narrative is moving and engaging, there’s much to be learned from it. Andrew’s little thoughts and advice are practically invaluable. If you’re ever feeling like your life is totally sucking or just plain hopeless, this book is kind of a remedy for that—at least for your mind. I haven’t had the easiest past few months—probably the worst few months of my young life thus far—and this book made me feel so much better. It’s full of hope, love and passion. It once again reminded me to not take life for granted and to live as fully and beautifully as I possibly can. While many books bring such wonderful escapism and entertainment, there are few and far between that directly remind you just how miraculous you are to be here reading this book and living in this world with this life.
The Humans by Matt Haig is now available wherever books and Digital Audio are sold.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (July 2, 2013)
Length: Approx. 8 hour, 11 minutes
Source: Unabridged Audio Download (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor
Completed: August 2013