The Humans by Matt Haig

Without knowing the premise of the book – an alien on a mission on Earth disguised as a human and being weird at it – I started reading it right after I binged Resident Alien (because, Alan Tudyk of course). After the first few pages, I stopped, because it was too similar to the series. For now.

“A paradox: The things you don’t need to live — books, art, cinema, wine, and so on — are the things you need to live.”

Matt Haig, The Humans

A few weeks later, while suffering a terrible cold, I picked it up again and got through it in a day. Having to put it down every few pages to blow my nose. A wonderful read for a miserable time.

Matt Haig had the idea for the book while being in the grips of panic disorder. Having had my share of panic attacks, I see why. Being anxious and depressed somehow can make your imagination run wild with positive ideas. And there is so much knowledge to be found at the very bottom of the human experience.

I am happy he found it. And though sometimes a bit too cheesy for my taste, the takeaway from the book is very sweet, and “Andrew’s” pointers for Gulliver are things we need to remind ourselves every now and then.

My favourites, in case you have the book at hand: 16, 19, 22, 37, 47, 52, 66, 93

“Remember, during your mission, never to become influenced or corrupted. The humans are an arrogant species, defined by violence and greed. They have taken their home planet, the only one they currently have access to, and placed it on the road to destruction. They have created a world of divisions and categories and have continually failed to see the similarities between themselves. They have developed technology at a rate too fast for human psychology to keep up with, and yet they still pursue advancement for advancement’s sake, and for the pursuit of the money and fame they all crave so much. You must never fall into the human’s trap. You must never look at an individual and fail to see their relation to the crimes of the whole. Every smiling human face hides the terrors they are all capable of, and are all responsible for, however indirectly. You must never soften, or shrink from your task.”

Matt Haig, The Humans

On a side note:

In books and movies about aliens coming to Earth, they generally come with the knowledge, that humans are pretty fucked up and need to be eliminated (or just because our planet is in the way of the new intergalactic highway). While staying for a while and meeting a few nice humans they come to the conclusion that though we have our faults, we are worth saving.

I am eager to hear suggestions for books and movies about aliens coming to Earth with good intentions and realizing we are self-destructive, short-sighted, ego-maniacal assholes and decide to destroy the place. That would sound much more realistic to me.

Btw, a cold is a very human thing to remind you to appreciate every unhindered breath you are able to take!