by Robert A. Heinlein
Reviewed date: 2008 Jan 8
Rating: 2
357 pages
cover art

From the back of the book:

"[Friday] ... is all woman ... She is as strong and resourceful and decisive as any Heinlein hero; in addition she is loving (oh, yes) and tender and very, very female. This, like so many of Heinlein's works, is as joyous to read as it is provocative." - Theodore Sturgeon

Sturgeon is wrong. Friday is neither provocative nor a joy to read. Friday isn't the worst of Heinlein's books, but it's one that could have used a lot of editing. Problems with Friday include:

  1. A complete lack of plot. There is no single story that goes through the whole book. Friday is battered about by world events, and spends her time reacting to the randomness that the world throws at her. The world events never come to any resolution or wrap-up. Just when things get interesting, Friday emigrates to a frontier planet.
  2. Deus ex machina. When Friday gets into a tough spot in the California Confederacy, Heinlein arranges for her to win the lottery. That's not writing, that's laziness. The reader's willing suspension of disbelief only works when the writer makes some pretense at realism. Heinlein's lottery trick crosses that line.
  3. Polyamory. Ah yes, Heinlein gets on his soapbox once again. You see, a truly civilized person overflows with love and can't be limited to just one spouse. A group marriage between six or eight people is ideal. And no, there is never any jealousy--at least not among civilized people. It's only those half-civilized religious prudes who would limit marriage and sex to monogamous relationships.
  4. Religion. As always, Heinlein has nothing good to say about religion. It doesn't feature in Friday very much, except for a few offhand comments describing it as a crutch for the weak-minded. Oh, and an implication that religion goes hand in hand with racism.
  5. Get to the point already. We don't need a hundred pages describing how Friday sneaks across the border to get back into the Chicago Imperium. It's a boring story that doesn't advance the plot, doesn't give us any insight into Friday's character, and is ultimately pointless. Heinlein needs an editor.

There are some good things. Heinlein gets on his soapbox and preaches against racism and bigotry. Yay. That's about it.

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