Disclaimer: I am not a professional book reviewer. This is just for fun.
Also, please note there may be a small hint of a spoiler in this review, so if you really don’t want to know anything about this book’s ending, I suggest reading it first, then coming back to read my thoughts on it.
If it’s not obvious by now, I live my life dreaming fantasy daydreams, reading fantasy novels, and writing fantasy stories. Though fantasy and sci-fi are typically grouped together, I stick to the side of medieval villages, majestic battle cries, and taverns.
Now I don’t have anything against science fiction. I just don’t prefer it. I’ve read very few sci-fi novels that have truly captivated me, and I think it’s because though I find science enthralling, I’m not smart enough to understand anything past basic chemistry (and even then, barely…)
I’ve been trying to read some of the best well-known fantasy novels, but sometimes you need a break from it all to come back and fiercely love it all again. So, I thought perhaps I’d try a well-known sci-fi novel.
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a book series that inevitably pops up into conversation whenever you’re talking about great works of the fantasy/sci-fi genre.
The title alone intrigued me to pick up my own copy, but I had no idea what kind of journey I was getting myself into… and I am quite happy about that.
For my current work in progress, I’ve really wanted to write the story with a narrator that has a lot more personality than just an omniscient narrator. I want it to have a narrator who is a character in its own right.
This book reinforced my desire to do this. I absolutely love the tone of the narrator in this book. This book would not be what it is without the narrator with a witty, matter-of-fact tone. It so precisely captures the mood for the story, and it immediately gave me the right impression: this book is full of ridiculous twists and turns, and yes, it’ll be quite entertaining at the very least.
Along with narrator, the concepts that are built in this galaxy are mind-boggling and hilariously unexpected. That’s what makes them so brilliant.
These ideas are often two concepts you’d never think would go together, but when they are put together, you can no longer see it any other way, because it makes so much sense.
Douglas Adams’ galaxy feels so real, and yet in a way it doesn’t. It feels very much like a fabrication, but it no way does that ruin my immersion. I think it’s on purpose. The galaxy is so unbelievably vast, Adams’ invites you to think of all the ridiculous possibilities, because at the end of the day, you know it’s all ridiculous, and that’s okay! It’s fun to think of it that way!
Not only is it fun, it’s comforting.
I absolutely hate the questions, “Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?” They’re an easy way of getting me to panic about life.
Especially now, when I’m graduating college in a few months. This is probably the most daunting thing people have to go through. I mean, you’re literally being told, “Hey, go and start your life with that career you’ve been paying loads of money to prepare for and with no help from anyone,” after doing the same thing (school) for the last twenty years of your life.
I mean what better/worst time to think about these philosophical questions. Trust me, they’re all I think about, and I’m really not liking it.
This book made me feel comforted, because not only was I reminded of the large universe compared to my small “me”, but I was also reminded of the fact that life can be ridiculous, so why not enjoy the ride?
I suppose people who say, “Life is too short,” know what they’re talking about. Why not think about the improbable possibilities? Why not have fun while you have the chance?
I will say, I did prefer the film over the book in only one aspect: Arthur Dent. For me, though his character arc isn’t that great, I did appreciate him having one in the movie. I felt like Arthur didn’t have one in the book, so it was nice to see a more human side to him, if you will, in a movie.
Also, he gets the girl, and that’s always a heart-warming moment for a romantic like me.
On a personal note, I’m no longer as stressed as I used to be about graduation.
If Arthur Dent can survive as a hitchhiker in the galaxy after Earth is destroyed, I can manage graduation. If I think about it, in a way, my mundane life of school-home-sleep-repeat is being destroyed (and yes, it’s been in the local planning office for years, though they were hidden in the basement).
And in a way, I am now a hitchhiker in life, and for some reason, that is comforting.