Book Review by Claire Stewart
Claire Stewart is fifteen years old and a 2021 Summer Teen Volunteer.
In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.Douglas Adams
Though this isn’t the first line of the novel, it’s one of the first mentioned in the film, and as soon as I heard it, I knew I was going to love this movie (and, later, the book). Douglas Adams has a unique way of writing that is just so indescribably hilarious; some more honorable mentions are, “the ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t” and “a common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” I mean, aren’t those lines just amazing?
This book, as the title suggests, is a guide for someone to use in the event that Earth is “demolished to make way for a galactic freeway” as the summary on the back of the book suggests. The story follows normal dude Arthur Dent (played by one of my favorite actors, Martin Freeman) as he is plucked from his garden, bathrobe and all, and is suddenly touring the galaxy with some of the oddest folks you’ll never meet. Complete with two-headed, three-armed ex-hippies, chronically depressed robots, and grad students obsessed with the disappearance of ballpoint pens, this tale keeps you laughing while also vaguely wondering what the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is – that’s an inside joke for those of us who know the story.
This absurd tale follows Arthur as he hitchhikes through space, unintentionally saves the world (well, part of it), encounters infinitely knowledgeable supercomputers that answer questions with more questions, and learns that his boring life on Earth was nothing compared to what the rest of the galaxy is doing. Adams uses cynicism and wit to spin this tale, and it’s quite enjoyable for anyone who’s humor is just a little dry and, from time to time, enjoys wondering what else the universe might have up its sleeves.
I definitely enjoyed this story, with its unique characters, confusing backstory, and random lines that, to this day, sort of leave me reeling. It’s the perfect read for, as I said, dry-humored folks, in addition to science and fiction lovers (or science fiction lovers!) with big imaginations. This book is also the first installment of a five-part series by Douglas Adams, all of which have interesting titles and even more interesting beings. There is also a sixth novel, written by Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl fans, anyone?) after Adams’ death, plus a 12-part series on BBC radio. In short, it’s a beloved story, and quite famous for it, that everyone should read once in their lives. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too!
- Cori recommends: The Paris Library - August 18, 2021
- Teen Volunteer Book Review:The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken - August 10, 2021
- Teen Volunteer Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - August 6, 2021