The Humans by Matt Haig

Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: mind/body control, murder, death.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars


This book was voted on for the March book club pick, and I’ll admit, I didn’t vote for it, nor did I think it sounded very good. However, this is exactly why I love book club- I get to read books I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, fall helplessly in love with them, and gush all about it to the book club ladies! The Humans may be my new favorite book we’ve read so far. It’s extremely clever and humorous, yet thought provoking.

In the novel, an unnamed alien takes over the body of Professor Andrew Martin, a mathematician at Cambridge in the UK. Before his body was taken over, Andrew believed to have solved the most impossible mathematical equation that would influence and advance all life on Earth. So, this alien destroys the real Andrew, and resides in his cloned body, and tried to identify any sources who may have learned about Andrew’s breakthrough.

Throughout the novel, this alien learns what it’s like to be a human and how to live on Earth. All he knew beforehand was the stereotype of what humans are supposed to be- destructive, primitive, and with slow technological advancement.

I’d also heard that humans were a life-form of, at best, middling intelligence and prone to violence, deep sexual embarrassment, bad poetry, and walking around in circles.

He gained knowledge of the language and general behavior from Cosmopolitan magazine, and he struggled to get used to the food and the ugly humans. He notes all his observations, reporting back to his Vonnadorian home planet. However, he begins to find that humans are quite complex, with such strange emotions that can’t be defined- most exceptionally, love.

I can’t tell you how many lines I flagged throughout this book- there were just so many. I will share a few of my favorites:

To be human is to state the obvious. Repeatedly, over and over, until the end of time.

A cat, I discovered, is very much like a dog. But smaller, and without self-esteem issues.

It was then that I realized that the one thing worse than having a dog hate you is having a dog love you. Seriously, if there was a needier species in the universe, I have yet to meet it.

When humans really, really like something, they clap their hands together. It makes no sense. But when they do it on behalf of you, it warms your brain.

I felt blue with sadness, red with rage, and green with envy. I felt the entire human rainbow.

I mean, this book is just FULL of human shower thoughts! But even more than that, it’s full of satire, wit, and fantastic human observation that will not only having you examining the species, but your own thoughts on such deep subjects as emotion, love, and sense of purpose. Haig grabbed my attention from the very first page, and kept me hooked and amused for the entirety of the novel.

I cannot wait to discuss this at book club, and I’ve already returned my library loaner and placed an order for my own copy- to which I can flag up even more. I highly encourage the read, and aside with some adult content that younger kids should probably not read, I think it’s perfect for everyone on this planet.

Published: July 2, 2013

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

TL/DR: The Humans by Matt Haig is science-fiction novel about an alien that takes over a man’s body and assumes his life to prevent humans from knowing a mathematical discovery.

Read it? YES!

Recommend it? YES! Although I will say that this probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I LOVE IT ANYWAYS and everyone should read it!

Buy it? YES!!!! I borrowed a copy from the library and before I even returned it, I ordered a copy for my home book collection.

If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:

  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

To see what else Not Your Mama’s Book Club is reading, click here!

Categories: Book Review, Dystopian, Fiction, Paranormal

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4 replies

  1. Well this sounds amazing! 👍


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