Podkayne of Mars by Robert A Heinlein
Readthrough: April 1, 2016 – April 13, 2016
Copy: Paperback, Ace Publishing, May 1987
I decided to pick up this book the other day during our shopping trip– and by that I mean, I chose it of my bookshelf so that I could read it during our shopping trip, not that I bought it during our shopping trip. I originally bought this book for a quarter on vacation some odd years ago, at a location which I spent maybe a hundred dollars and came away with some seven hundred dollars worth of literature.
But by some turn of fate, I thought it looked nice, I skimmed the cover, and I put it in my box. And I’m not sad I did.
Podkayne of Mars is written in a diary style, mixed just a little with first person present in the way diary style can be. It can be just a trifle confusing, because sometimes Podkayne’s brother comes and writes in it as well, but for the most part it seems to be entirely Podkayne. Because it is diary style, there are portions where it is a slew of words strung together or letters which do not always make up words; it is, after all, the diary of a teenage girl.
The book follows Podkayne on her trip to Earth, the birthplace of humankind– though of course she very much doubts that. But what I’m most fond of about this book is all the little details.
You see, because of the way this book is written, we get a lot of information dumped on us, sometimes a lot at a time, and it’s all seen through the lens of the way Podkayne sees the world. Some of it can be a little hard to piece together– you have to be sure to read it carefully, or you miss some of the detail she was trying to tell her diary. For reference, you’re the diary. Some of it is a good, cohesive way to build the universe as it stands in your mind; some of it is just a good way to build the character.
All of it is important, in it’s own way. Every piece of it makes you love the character and the world she lives in, because Podkayne Fries lives in a world that she loves and she loves living it, and if you’re reading the book like I do, you’re aiming to get invested in something, or it simply wont hold your attention.
Heinlein does a good job of getting me invested in Poddy. So much so that when the book ended, and it did, unfortunately, end, I was hooked and desperate for more. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it. I don’t think he wrote a second book to cover what happens After. But it doesn’t matter, because the book alone is enough for itself.
If I find he did make a follow up, certainly I will have to have my hands all over that. In the meantime, without spoiling anything– and I fear not much of this book can be discussed without spoiling anything– I fully recommend everybody read this book if they have the chance. It’s well written and paced nicely, and the conclusion leaves you hungry and wishing for more.