Matthew's Reviews > The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
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bookshelves: sci-fi, humor, own

Not sure what it was about this book that made me not like it as much as I was hoping. When I was growing up I remember watching the BBC TV show and playing the text adventure on my Commodore 64 (yes, I am getting old). Before I actually read it, lots of my friends recommended it and the cool, edgy people all loved it (basically, the hipsters of the 90s! 😉)

When I finally read it, it seemed a bit dry to me. Perhaps that was the famous dry British humor? Also, it felt like Adams was trying to include a joke in every sentence. I started to think that perhaps the TV show and the text adventure streamlined the humor and made it more accessible to me.

I do think that a lot of people will like this one and sing its praises - and you don't even need to be cool and edgy! But if you like your British humor in controlled, coherent doses, you may have the same experience as me.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 8, 2013 – Shelved
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: sci-fi
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: humor
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: own

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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Stephen Ah the Commodore 64. Wrote my senior year college papers one, before Windows, before Macs. Great gadget.

Re the book: as you say very British. My experience: People either like British humor or don't really get it and find it silly. Don't know why but every time I think of this book I envision Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) as Dent, the whole thing played as an over the top Pythonesque comedy. The actual movie seemed to favor this approach but never got there.


message 2: by Matthew (last edited Feb 20, 2018 07:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matthew Stephen wrote: "Ah the Commodore 64. Wrote my senior year college papers one, before Windows, before Macs. Great gadget.

Re the book: as you say very British. My experience: People either like British humor or d..."


Yeah - I could not get into the recent movie at all.


Kevin Kuhn It's one of the few books to make me truely laugh out loud. I also found it to have many insights about the absurdity of life hidden in the humor. One of my favorites, but dry, english humor hits my funny bone just right.


message 4: by Reeda (new)

Reeda Booke I'm one of those who didn't care for this book at all. However, my son loves it!


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Donihue I liked the entire trilogy, but, to be honest, the best version of the story was the original radio play. It anteceded the first book (by several years, I think) and, in my opinion, outshines them on the level of entertainment.


Matthew This is one of those stories that has been presented in so many formats that vary so much that each person is going to have a very different story about their experience. I am kind of wondering if I would like the audio version.


Lars Dradrach I’m listening to Stephen Fry’s audio version for the 3. Time and still enjoys it tremendously but I’m not sure I would enjoy it quite as much if I read it for the first time today, there is such a thing as the right time and age for some books and I guess you just hit the wrong one with this one


message 8: by Dave (new)

Dave I could not finish. Just seemed to darn clever for it's good


Matthew Dave wrote: "I could not finish. Just seemed to darn clever for it's good"

Ha! I have had that experience with a few books!


Audrey This dry, quirky British humor has made me who I am today.


Michael Perkins Kevin Kuhn wrote: "It's one of the few books to make me truely laugh out loud. I also found it to have many insights about the absurdity of life hidden in the humor. One of my favorites, but dry, english humor hits my funny bone just right."

I am the same. But humor is subjective. A family member got me to read "A Man Called Ove" and I realized there was some humor in there somewhere, but it didn't click with me.


Matthew Audrey wrote: "This dry, quirky British humor has made me who I am today."

And I love a lot of dry British humor, but only kinda liked this.


Matthew Michael wrote: "Kevin Kuhn wrote: "It's one of the few books to make me truely laugh out loud. I also found it to have many insights about the absurdity of life hidden in the humor. One of my favorites, but dry, e..."

Loved a Man Called Ove! I think we could do a fascinating research project on why we might love some of the same books but at the same time completely disagree about others.


Cecily Bang goes my theory that people who enjoyed H2G2 in their youth still enjoy it as adults!
Sorry it shattered your illusions and memories.


Matthew Cecily wrote: "Bang goes my theory that people who enjoyed H2G2 in their youth still enjoy it as adults!
Sorry it shattered your illusions and memories."


Well . . . to be fair, I never read it as a youth, so perhaps I I would not have liked the book then, either. It was the other mediums that I enjoyed! So, perhaps your theory is still in tact! ;)


Jeffrey Keeten I was cool and edgy in the nineties (hell I'm cool and edgy now :-)), but this didn't click with me as much as I expected. I have been considering a reread as 25+ years has passed since I first read it.

Maybe the readers who rated this book 5 stars are aliens and don't even know it, but there is coding in this book that makes them think it is really, really funny. In the humor there are instructions from the mother world that can only be assessed subconsciously when the subject is laughing. Just saying...


Glenda I'm glad I'm not the only one not totally enthralled with this book. I started reading the series in 2012, long after the 79 publication and perhaps long after a cool and edgy person in their late 40's should be reading it (while sober). I soldiered on through the series, by the time I finished Mostly Harmless I was pretty much numbed in the brain.


Matthew Jeffrey wrote: "I was cool and edgy in the nineties (hell I'm cool and edgy now :-)), but this didn't click with me as much as I expected. I have been considering a reread as 25+ years has passed since I first rea..."

I always thought I was cool and edgy . . . but it is probably just because the cool and edgy people let me hang around with them! :)

Also, definitely digging your conspiracy theory:




Matthew Glenda wrote: "I'm glad I'm not the only one not totally enthralled with this book. I started reading the series in 2012, long after the 79 publication and perhaps long after a cool and edgy person in their late ..."

I think I stopped halfway through the third book. If I tried it again, I would probably finish it as I don't really DNF anymore no matter how painful, but I am not thinking that I am willing to give it another shot!


Michael Perkins think it helped that I was an X-Files fan and watched every episode.


Matthew Michael wrote: "think it helped that I was an X-Files fan and watched every episode."

And, I have never seen a single X-File episode . . . does that make you respect me less? ;)


Michael Perkins no, not at all. It was a kind of cult show in the early 90's. It originally ran on Friday nights and came close to being cancelled until fans rallied for it. It played into conspiracy theories about UFO's, alien abductions, etc. But I watched it because I liked the two main characters. Scully and Mulder.


Eileen LOL, I love British humour, lol, but you have to be in the right frame of mind for it. I might give this a listen this year since it's been years since I last read this.


Matthew Eileen wrote: "LOL, I love British humour, lol, but you have to be in the right frame of mind for it. I might give this a listen this year since it's been years since I last read this."

Hmmm - maybe I would enjoy it more on audio . . .


Eileen I have a couple of different recordings. I'll give it a listen sometime, and let you know which one I like better. :D


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