NAME: Valentine Michael Smith
Valentine Michael Smith is a human being raised on Mars, newly returned to Earth. Among his people for the first time, he struggles to understand the social mores and prejudices of human nature that are so alien to him, while teaching them his own fundamental beliefs in grokking, watersharing, and love. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
While I absolutely adore Heinlein, this was the weakest in his books as far as I’m concerned. I found it a very slow build (not that divergent from other Heinlein books), but without the fascinating characters to make the build all worth it to me. Frankly, I found Valentine just plain weird. I can see how folks in the 60’s who were into all sorts of things would adore this book, but it just didn’t work for me.
There are certainly redeeming factors. At some points, I found the thought-experiment fascinating and an interesting project in the sense of challenge long-established beliefs and structures in our “normal” world. That being said, once I got to the ending I had the shell-shocked “what the heck???” moment that left me feeling discontent and not a fan of this one in the end.
Warning: Contains a little bit of everything to offend anyone the least sensitive.
Rating: 3 stars!
Who should read it? Heinlein devotees, but otherwise I’d say skip or try a different Heinlein first. I think if this was your first Heinlein it could be quite off-putting.