Free for All Friday is a feature here in Defiantly Deviant wherein I review books that are not YA. I'll be reviewing all sorts of genres from autobiographies, contemporary fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and anything else I can get my hands on!
Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: September 25, 1995 (Mass Market Paperback Edition)
THOUGHTS: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.
This is my first attempt in reviewing something other than Young Adult, so folks, please be gentle. I had a bit of a difficult time deciding what 'other' book I should review first, and to be perfectly honest, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was not really my first choice. I was actually supposed to review some autobiographies I have lying around, however, after remembering that a good friend lent me his copy a long, long time ago, I decided to give this book a shot. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right? Not only will I finally finish this book that has been gathering dust in my bookshelf for a few months, I'll also finally get this feature up and running! Win, win!
This is my first foray into the wondrous world of sci-fi that has no mention of YA whatsoever, and wow, did I get really overwhelmed! I was nowhere near my comfort zone, to put it simply. The... ridiculous (for the lack of a better word) plot threw me off for a bit, and it was so difficult for me to suspend my disbelief while reading. Basically, our main character, Arthur, wakes up to his house about to be bulldozed to make way for a new bypass. All of this, however, pales to the fact that someone out there in the galaxy decided that the Earth itself should be obliterated so that a galaxy highway can be created. Arthur does end up surviving the Earth's destruction by hitching a ride on a spaceship, and this is where his adventures begin. Everything about this book is just... out there. The outlandishness just made my head ache, and I swear that I really, really wanted to chuck this book out the window! I just wasn't hooked, and believe me, I was really tempted to throw the towel (oh hey - I mentioned the towel! *winkwink*) and stop reading.
But you know what, I'm glad I didn't do it. I told myself to give it a few more chapters, and to at least make it halfway through before I decide if I'm really going to call it quits. As I coasted along page by page, I found myself rolling my eyes good-naturedly at the dry humor, smiling at the unique narrative, and enjoying the book's quirkiness in all its glory. Next thing I know, I was actually liking what I was reading! While it did take a while before I got used to Adams' ridiculously tongue-in-cheek writing, I did end up enjoying The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy more than I thought I would! (Yes, the abundance of exclamation points is called for!)
What I liked the most about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself. See here, Ford, the one who saved Arthur's life, is actually a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide - he just got stranded in Earth for fifteen years and was therefore forced to pretend to be human. In a nutshell, the Guide is just what it sounds like - a guide to the ins and outs of the galaxy. Arthur occasionally used the Hitchhiker's Guide to understand just what was going on around him, and the book within a book aspect of the novel really set it apart. I lived for the moments wherein Arthur looked up something on the guide! Adams' writing shone in the detailed and vivid descriptions of the Guide, and again, once you get used to his way of writing, it would be difficult not to enjoy the book!
All in all, I can't help but be happy that this is my first 'other' book review. Despite my original apprehension, the general plot worked. Oh believe me, it worked. More than that, I ended up liking the different characters we were introduced to, and I especially liked how the character of Arthur was written. His sheer disbelief at everything that he's seeing made for a very entertaining read, and his character contrasted wonderfully against Ford's upbeat personality. I also ended up liking how Adams made you question what you think you already know, and my god, his one-liners are off the charts! (Also, can I just briefly talk about how I can't believe I previously knew nothing about this book!? It's everywhere in pop culture!)
So... there you go. Would I recommend this to other readers who aren't big on sci-fi? Yes. Yes, I definitely will. It takes a while before you can wrap your head around everything Adams presents to you, but the process to getting there is nothing short of exhilarating!
And last, but definitely not the least, thank you to space enthusiast Pao Portillo for lending me his copy of this book. You never thought I would read it (much less review it) but I did! I did!
Rating: 4 Stars