Reviews of Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)
Review by mrdude (2005-09-18)
Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein is the story of Alex Hergensheimer, who walks across a pit of fire on a bet and wakes up the next day to find the world has changed around him drastically.
I think this book really reminded me why it can be so enjoyable to jump into literature without knowing what to expect. I have only read one other book by Heinlein and truthfully my reason behind picking this book revolves solely around the fact that he was the author. About half way through the book I was thinking of starting my review by remarking that this was the only book I had read that I enjoyed while still loathing the main character. Although that was true throughout most of the book by the end I grew somewhat attached to the guy.
Most of my initial resentment against the main character revolved around his religious beliefs. Alex is a devout Christian, and although he seems to maintain that his church is quite lax I found this to be... well completely and utterly not true. Although this may not have been a recipe for an abrasive character for all his readers I am sure some of them, such as myself, found it suddenly difficult to empathize with this person. And yet the story was captivating enough, and some of the secondary characters interesting enough that I found I could not simply discard the book.
This created an interesting conundrum. Continue to read the book, hate the character and wonder how this represents the author, or trudge on through. I am glad to say that the latter choice was quite worth it. It is interesting to see the character change and even more interesting to see yourself start to understand where he is coming from. I think it definitely takes a strong book to make the reader meet the main character half way, and in my opinion Heinlein was able to do that in this novel.
(review also posted at the IBDoF)
Review by Beaver (2003-10-28)
Job touched on a lot of the same themes as Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land - free love, hypocrisy of religion and juvenile portrayals of women as smart and able yet extremely subservient. Job had some interesting (heretical, yet funny) views about God and Satan, and Heaven and Hell with some interesting religious questions to think about. "Job", in this case, is a conservative evangelical who is tossed about between some interesting alternate realities. The story was kind of slow to build up, but had an interesting twist at the end. The very end was kind of a cop out though. 8/10
Review by rootbeer (2003-03-10)
By far, Heinlein's funniest book. Heinlein isn't really known for his sense of humor, but he seems to have saved it all up for the hapless Alex, a rat in a cage poked and prodded by forces beyond his comprehension that want to see what he'll do next. Heinlein uses the opportunity to take a look into what other realities would be like with different combinations of technology and religious influence, as Alex gets bounced around from reality to reality just as he's starting to get used to one. And all he really wants to do is buy his girlfriend an ice cream sundae.