Review – Humans: An A-Z by Professor Andrew Martin edited by Matt Haig


It’s been almost a year since I’ve been thoroughly entertained by Matt Haig‘s The Humans. Now, his main character Professor Andrew Martin takes the stage and presents us with a dictionary that also acts as a survival guide: Humans: An A-Z

Humans: An A-Z
Image provided by Canongate¹
Synopsis provided by Canongate¹:

A) Know a human?
B) Love a human?
C) Have trouble dealing with humans?

Whether you are planning a high level of human interaction or just a casual visit to the planet, this user-guide to the human race will help you translate their sayings, understand exotic concepts such as ‘democracy’ and ‘sofas’, and make sense of their habits and bizarre customs.

A phrase book, a dictionary and a survival guide, this book unravels all the oddness, idiosyncrasies and wonder of the species, allowing everyone to make the most of their time on Earth.

My Thoughts:

It is great to finally have someone explain humans to us and it is much better if this someone is Professor Andrew Martin. Only he, not being a human himself, can give us quasi-objective descriptions of certain characteristics unique to this species.

Don’t be afraid, this book isn’t your usual dry, scientific text-book. You will hop from term to term and you probably won’t get enough. Professor Andrew Martin has lived with humans long enough to know what they are like. More than once, you will be nodding in agreement. Sometimes, you will have to laugh out loud. Once in a while, you will ask yourself if this alien has found a way to look inside the human soul.

No matter if you are human or alien, Humans: An A-Z is a must-have companion. After reading, you will know much more about humans than you knew before and it will give you comfort in times of distress.



Review – The Humans by Matt Haig

Last night, I finished reading The Humans by Matt Haig which I won from The Book Depository.

Image provided by Canongate
Image provided by Canongate


Summary quoted from Canongate¹:

It’s hardest to belong when you’re closest to home . . .
One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world’s greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears.
When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he’s a dog.
Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife’s eyes?

My Thoughts:

The Humans is mainly set in Cambridge, England. The setting is very believable and realistic.

The book is written from the perspective of the person who took Andrew Martin’s body (let’s call him “the alien”). It is written in conversational style. As if “the alien” was talking to the reader, who, in his opinion, is one of his species. I think this is a very interesting and entertaining writing style, which is also very clever. This way, Mr Haig takes the reader by the hand and leads them right into the story. He makes them part of it instantly.

The main characters of The Humans are “the alien”, Andrew Martin’s wife Isobel and their son Gulliver. For me, they were all very easy to empathize with, especially “the alien” and Gulliver. I was able to follow “the alien’s” problems, his discoveries, his moral changes and his feelings throughout the book. I also had no problems understanding Gulliver’s teenage world and all the problems and feelings that he had. I could feel “the alien’s” and Gulliver’s relationship with all their highs and lows. I could also feel the relationship between Isobel and “the alien” but it wasn’t depicted as intensely as the relationship between Gulliver and “the alien”.

I really enjoyed the plot. It was a little predictable but had its twists and turns. I don’t think The Humans is a book you read for suspense, it is a book that is full of fun and creativity. The only thing I would have left out is the “Advice for a Human” list at the end. I didn’t really see a point in it and it was somehow boring. Other than that, I had great fun reading The Humans and I can fully recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read something different for a change.