The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
The acme of British science-fiction humor.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 38 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence

A ray gun battle with two deaths: a whale falls out of the sky and is smashed; two people are cast out into space but survive.

Sex

Much humorous innuendo along the lines of "Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six," and "the Best Bang since the Big One."

Language

A couple of four-letter expletives.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many humorous references to drinking and drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that despite the dry, rather snide, humor, the author raises many issues, including materialism, the nature of existence, the role of bureaucracy, and lots more.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhuladancer April 9, 2008

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

This book taught me that there were other smart but markedly weird people like me out there and it was OK to be so. I'm glad I got to say that to DNA befor... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byRobtheIronguy December 19, 2010

Fantastic Book- 8 year old was too young for it though

Absolutely love the book as an adult; attempted to read to my 8 year old and after 5 nights we had to give up. Some elements are highly entertaining for him, wh... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 19, 2018

Amazing book, but some iffy stuff

This book is a masterpiece. When I first read it, I wanted to read it again and again. It has it all: laughs, charm, and some action too. The best think about... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bywhaleoh4060 March 20, 2011

Some bits not for younger kids

Great book but some mature bits.
There is some infrequent swearing that is not in most kid's books and the sexuality is as well.
Hilarious, though.

What's the story?

Just before the Earth is demolished to make room for a new hyperspace bypass, very ordinary Earthman Arthur Dent is taken offworld by his friend, Ford Prefect. Ford, it turns out, comes "from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse," and is "a roving researcher for that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." They hitch a ride on one of the Vogon constructor ships that demolished the earth, are ejected into space, and picked up by The Heart of Gold, a new spaceship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, which has just been stolen by two-headed, three-armed Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. They journey with him to Magrathea, the planet where, millions of years earlier, the Earth was constructed as part of a giant, organic computer designed to come up with the question to the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything. Get it?

Is it any good?

Originally written for adults, this witty, entertaining book has become very popular with bright middle schoolers and high schoolers who enjoy the snarky British humor. Some passages will go right over the heads of many readers, but for those who get it this pioneering classic introduction to the genre of British sci-fi humor can become an obsession, leading to Terry Pratchett, Monty Python, and others. The cliffhanger ending will drive them crazy, of course, but fortunately the whole series is available, so they can quickly satisfy their need to continue.

Despite the drinking and innuendo, many parents like to see their kids enjoying this because the humor is intellectual and verbal, rather than the usual American pratfalls and potty jokes. Many lines have become catch phrases to the initiated, a quick way to find those of like mind and interests: saying "42!", "Life, don't talk to me about life," or Don't panic!" to a roomful of young adolescents is one way to sort them out quickly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the many issues tackled here. What does this book say about the nature of existence? Do you agree?

Book details

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