Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 9th May 2013
Genre: Literary Fiction/Science Fiction
Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who have no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth. – Goodreads
This book came at a perfect time for me. My mentality hasn’t been great this year and suddenly everything has just been coming to a head these last few months. I was straying from everything I used to love doing, and the reason for this was that I was couldn’t see the point of what I was doing. I couldn’t see the point of college, the point of education at all, and even the point of what I want to do in the future. I know this isn’t uncommon and I’m sure everyone goes through it at some stage in their life, which is why this book is so important.
I loved it.
I have been moved and touched by many books that I have gifted 5 stars, but I don’t think a book has ever affected me so deeply. I read it in two sittings but days apart (because of NaNoWriMo and school work) and it was all I could think about throughout these days. I associated the music I was listening to with the characters, while I was writing, I was thinking of how Haig would write. Throughout the book, the new Andrew struggles with experiencing things for the first time and understanding the context and etiquette surrounding them. For example, when Andrew first sees his new human form, he is disgusted. As I went through my day, I found myself looking at everyday things, like the blast of air as you walk through a supermarket door, and wondering how Andrew react and interpret it. He would probably cower and think it some strange kind of rain.
Aside from Andrew, another character I loved was Gulliver, Andrew’s son. The progression of his character was another aspect that gave me that hope and encouragement, to see how he grew and changed. Some of my favourite parts of the book were interactions between Andrew and Gulliver, and without spoilers, there is a list written from one to the other, which I am considering printing out and putting up on my wall so I can see it every day and feel like I do now.
For me, though the plot was well-constructed and imaginative, it took a backseat, which I think was Haig’s intention. Instead, I was immersed in Andrew’s character and the character of humans, because that is what this beautiful book is about. It is about being human in this world we all live in, and though it’s hard and there’s darkness, there is always something to live for. No matter what is happening in the world, there is always some tiny piece of happiness and warmth, which may be found in an Emily Dickinson poem, a bass guitar, or a song about home.
I needed this. I really needed this. And I know that today (9th November 2016) many people will need it too, regardless of where or who you are.
Don’t give up. Read.