Book Review: Hitchhiker

Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas AdamsHitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams by M.J. Simpson

I’ve enjoyed Douglas Adams’s books for a long time. When I was young, my parents put into my hands all four (at the time) volumes of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and even Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and I devoured them. I have always been impressed with Adams’s humor, intelligence and imagination.

This biography was an informative book, but definitely more for a British audience than for an American one. I knew a few of the big names mentioned in the book (like the members of Monty Python and two members of Pink Floyd, who were just a few of Adams’s many famous friends), but there were many that I didn’t know. There is a name glossary in the back that I referred to from time to time, but despite that I found that the frequent occurrence of names I didn’t know made the text hard to follow in places. A positive point about the book was that the author was able to get to the truth behind several of Adams’s oft-repeated (and slightly inaccurate) anecdotes. A negative is that I felt like I was being dragged through an interminable succession of this-happened-then-this-happened. I would have appreciated being given more insight into Adams’s writing, aside from the fact (well-documented in Hitchhiker) that he persistently and artfully avoided doing it as much as possible.