Book review: The Humans

Book cover for The Humans: A Novel by Matt Haig

If an extra-terrestrial being were to arrive on our planet, what would they think of humans? What would be their reaction to what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, the music we listen to, the concept of love, and how we interact with our pets? Would they embrace the way we live, or would they be repulsed by it.

It’s an interesting thought experiment, and one that author Matt Haig explores in his book The Humans: A Novel.

The premise for the humans goes like this. An extremely intelligent extra-terrestrial is sent to Earth to assume the identity of a famous math professor named Andrew Martin. Martin has made a mathematical discovery that could advance the human race, and our alien friend has been sent here to make sure it does not become public knowledge. His mission is simple, eradicate everyone who may have come into contact with Martin and have knowledge of his discovery, and then return home.

To carry out his mission, our alien friend has to figure out how to be human, which ends up turning the book into a comedy of sorts, or, better yet, a satire of the human existence. For example, the alien does not grasp the concept of love or companionship and ends up becoming best friends with the family dog. That is only one of many, many things that will leave you laughing out loud and make you wonder why we, as humans, do the things we do.

The Humans is a fun read. It’s a comical look at how we live, our habits, and our quirky behaviors. The story is solid with plenty of laugh out loud humorous moments. It’s an easy read that’s not going to make you think too hard. In other words, it’s a very entertaining novel.

I’ve now read a couple of Haig’s books – The Midnight Library being the other. While the books are slightly askew from what I normally like to read (which is science fiction of the near-term variety), both have been great, fun reads. Bottom line, I’d highly recommend The Humans as a light read that is enjoyable from start to finish.

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