The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 11 August 2002

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

Countless thousands of young high school students can quote this novel verbatim, as if it were a string of hilarious Monty Python skits. It was fabulously popular among the kids in my high school twenty years ago, and remains a favorite among many people who grew up reading it. I, however, waited too long to get around to reading it. The adventures of Arthur Dent and Zaphod Beeblebrox, after the destruction of the planet Earth, do seem strung together like loosely associated gags and puns. The plot, such as it is, surrounds Arthur's confusion upon starting his adventures wandering the galaxy, and the bizarre and troubling reality he discovers behind his heretofore complacent existence. Adams depicts a universe governed by random chance, outrageous coincidence, and bumbling bureaucracy. Overall, his writing is highly amusing, somewhat juvenile, but also occasionally sharp and biting. By the end, though, I was losing interest in the gags. Somewhere along the random path of this book, it lost me.

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