“Let's not forget The Things They Do To Make Themselves Happy That Actually Make Them Miserable. This is an infinite list. It includes - shopping, watching TV, taking the better job, getting the bigger house, writing a semi-autobiographical novel, educating their young, making their skin look mildly less old and harboring a vague desire to believe there might be a meaning to it all.”
If I was into highlighting my fiction books this WHOLE book would be highlighted. So much good stuff in it. It's really quite unfair that Matt Haig alone has gotten all of the world's wisdom, but at least he's sharing it with us, so that's good. Also, to clarify, I only rated this 4 and not 5 stars because there were some musings I didn't agree with, but for the most part I loved everything about this novel.
The Humans is not a book that should be read for the plot. Yes, it's sci-fi, but it's not anything new, or groundbreaking, the plot is very recyclable and very, very predictable. The Humans is a book that should be read for its soul, for its wisdom and for the beauty that it finds in the mundane. Mundane meaning us - humans. And our meagre lives.
"But know this. Men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus. Do not fall for categories. Everyone is everything. Every ingredient inside a star is inside you, and every personality that ever existed competes in the theatre of your mind for the main role."
“Maybe that is what beauty was, for humans. Accidents, imperfections, placed inside a pretty pattern. Asymmetry. The defiance of mathematics.”
I realize that my review will consist mostly of quotes, but honestly with a book like this - it speaks for itself. I am merely a spectator, who was lucky enough to experience the masterpiece of this. And the beauty of this book is in how it unfolds itself.
An unnamed alien comes to earth to take a place of a mathematician who solved a theorem that would have sped up the technological progress on earth to unfathomable levels, and aliens know that humans can't handle it, so they sent one of their own to exterminate the knowledge. The alien is repulsed by humans - he thinks us primitive, disgusting, and just backwards really. Are you offended yet? Because funnily enough, I agreed with every little thing he said about humans and all of our flaws. We, as species are truly horrible, and I finally have a book that wholeheartedly agrees with me. Feels good.
“Human life, I realized, got progressively worse as you got older, by the sound of things. You arrived, with baby feet and hands and infinite happiness, and then the happiness slowly evaporated as your feet and hands grew bigger. And then, from the teenage years onward, happiness was something you could lose your grip of, and once it started to slip, it gained mass. It was as if the knowledge that it could slip was the thing that made it more difficult to hold, no matter how big your feet and hands were.”
But, as flawed as we are, there is something to us. And the alien goes on discovering what is it that makes humans so irresistible. Despite our feebleness, our single mindlessness and all our erroneous ways - humanity is real, it's raw, and it's painfully beautiful. I'm still not changing my opinions - I agree with alien's initial overview of human race, but I also agree that there's good in us, there's light and there's beauty - and all of that - the good and the bad is what makes us - the humans.
The writing is superb, the humor is contagious - I highly recommend this, even to those who do not read sci-fi. This books is so much more than that.
“The tea seemed to be making things better. It was a hot drink made of leaves, used in times of crisis as a means of restoring normality.”