I don't remember hating Nick so much the first time I read it, but he's horrible. Ineffectual, unreliable, and a total and constant liar to himself an...moreI don't remember hating Nick so much the first time I read it, but he's horrible. Ineffectual, unreliable, and a total and constant liar to himself and others. I also didn't remember Fitzgerald being quite so pedantic. But it's still one of the best pieces of Literature in American history. (less)
**spoiler alert** I don’t really know how to go about critiquing “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” as a stand alone book. I don’t think it’s fair...more**spoiler alert** I don’t really know how to go about critiquing “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” as a stand alone book. I don’t think it’s fair to critique a book that’s so much a part of a series that it can’t be said to have a true ending so much as a line that will bleed into the next installment. However, as a purest, I cannot say that I feel that this unique structure is to the credit of Adams. A story must have a beginning, middle, and an end in order to be, by definition, a story. If your story’s beginning, middle, and end take place over multiple installments, then that’s fine so long as each installment likewise has a beginning, middle, and end. This cannot be said about Hitchhiker’s Guide, and it leaves me feeling that something is lacking.
Indeed Adams sets out to break a lot of the established “rules” of fiction. In and of itself, this is not a problem—rules were made to be broken. Master authors often break the rules of chronology and plotting in order to make a point or just to showcase their mastery. This can often have a profound effect on the reader. Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants” is a great example of this, but Adams seems to want to only break the rules for the sake of so doing without any attention paid to why. For example, when he deliberately tells the reader before hand that nothing bad is going to happen to the characters while they’re being pursued by missiles aside from someone getting a bruise on their arm, he robs the following scene of any possibility of suspense. This is problematic in a book that is drastically lacking in suspense and narrative drive. So instead of following rules about the formation of suspense and the use it has in making your reader want to turn the page, Adams throws that out of the window and the book suffers as a result.
The book is sloppily plotted, there’s little to no dramatic arch, the stakes of everything our cast of characters do are very low, and the characterization is rather poor. Or at the very least, he doesn’t take many pains to get the reader invested in the characters. However, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is often very very funny. It made me laugh out loud multiple times, and its characters can be colorful if not deeply rendered. Also, points in this book resonant with the potential for great political satire and very interesting allegory for the world we do live in. I won’t say that Adams takes these points to their fullest extent, but they are fun to come across.
Ultimately, I don’t think “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” can be considered high art. I wouldn’t even call it a page turner as I found myself more than capable and willing to put it down and find something else to occupy my attention many times, but it is a fun and funny book that I would recommend for young readers starting to delve into the realms of literary analysis. Sadly, it did not inspire me to want to pick up the other books in the series and see where the story actually does end which suggests that this doesn’t stand as a very good or enticing beginning.(less)
Easily one of my favorite plays. One of those rare works of art that is just spare enough to mean just about anything to anyone who reads. Is it about...moreEasily one of my favorite plays. One of those rare works of art that is just spare enough to mean just about anything to anyone who reads. Is it about religion? the futility of life? two people languishing in some purgatorial existence? or even the flaw of hoping that the government will ever be able to help anyone? Yes. It's all of those things and then some. And it's funny, and it's musing, and it's an amazing read. I'd love to see it staged, but I think it might be one of the more enjoyable plays to just sit and read that I've ever come across. (less)