Review of 'Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams'

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

hitchhiker.jpg I am a big fan of Douglas Adams' work having been introduced to The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy at a young age I moved onto his other work on Dirk Gently and “Last Chance to See” with a huge degree of relish and was never disappointed. “Hitchhiker” tells how a young man worked hard to get into the Cambridge Footlights group as a writer/actor then reluctantly move onto more the former than the later. He contributed to the work of the legendary English comedy troupe of Monty Python as well as other comedy greats such as writer John Lloyd never mind being friends with members the Beatles and writing for Dr Who.

A common theme of this book is that Adams' mind was so distracted he found it difficult to meet his writing deadlines to the point it became legend. Adams would often retell his life experiences in such a way to exaggerate for sake of dramatic or comedic effect, much as he did in his writing. Later in life he would come to regret the way he found himself defined by his most famous work, striving to reach out in different directions though forced by his publishers (and his bank balance) to return to Hitchhikers time and time again including the ongoing struggle to have a film made of it. Adams always had a fascination with technology, attempting to use this in his work including an interactive computer game and an on-line real life version of the Hitchhiker's Guide. In the end it all got too much with Douglas Adams passing away suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 49 depriving us of a genius comedic writer.

“Hitchhiker” is an insightful look into the life of Douglas Adams with a huge amount of detail and a slight bit of ironic comedy. M.J. Simpson is no Douglas Adams but that is good as we join Simpson in unravelling the mysteries of the man. It should be said that the detail does make reading occasionally a bit tedious though it does bring the often secretive man to life.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-05-14

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 2003

ISBN: 0340824883