Karl Gallagher (selenite) wrote,
Karl Gallagher
selenite

30 Day Book Meme - Day 29

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

"Everyone hated" is a high bar for a book to cross. I think the best I can do for this meme is pick a book that lots of people hated (and I haven't already blogged about, so Starship Troopers is out).

So, behold an object of much hate: Friday by Robert Heinlein. Why I like it is no surprise--it's a fun adventure story with fascinating world-building and some of the best examples of smoothly integrating exposition into the story. Add in predictions of websurfing on the internet and California politics and we have a great contender for a classic SF story.

Why the book is hated is also no surprise. Many refer to it as Heinlein's most sexist novel (to which I can only reply "There goes someone who hasn't read Beyond This Horizon"). Our heroine is an "artificial person," created in a lab, and raised as a "domestic animal" rather than as a person. This is a vehicle for an extended discussion of race and identity as Friday "passes" as a real person but still has the psychological scars from being treated as a social inferior from birth. Part of how Heinlein showed that is Friday's complete lack of personal boundaries, to the point where she'll oblige any casual friend's request for sex, scheduling permitting, and a vicious rape is considered only a challenge in maintaining her cover identity as a secret agent. She treats the rape lightly enough that at the end of the story she marries one of the perpetrators, their common identity as APs outweighing her minor grudge. Good characterization? Or dirty old man's wish fulfillment of his fantasies? Assuming my analysis of what Heinlein was trying to do was correct he still came far too close to turning Friday into a Gorean courtesan for readers to not get derailed. Anyone scarred by rape, or by encounters with men who want to turn women into Gorean playthings, is not going to care what the author's intent was.

The other reason I've seen people hate Friday is the ending's portrayal of unwed teen motherhood as a happy outcome. I'd certainly oppose it here and now, but the frontier they'd settled on was much closer to Heinlein's rural Missouri childhood than a 21st Century American suburb. I think Friday and her daughter Wendy were making the best of where they were, even if they weren't making the best possible decisions.


Day 01 – Best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

Tags: books
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