I read this book about 25-Oct-2016. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1970. This note was last modified Friday, 28-Oct-2016 15:36:07 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
The first of the really clearly past-his-prime Heinlein novels. Has the obssessive concern with sex and younger women, coupled with the long-standing obssessive concern with babies. Also has the serious concern with ghosts / souls / a non-material universe. And I still think that a decade later :-).
The bulk of the novel functions as a treatise on how to be a woman—a subject Heinlein was not particularly expert in from any evidence I've seen, and which displayed his gender essentialism pretty much bare (one of his worst qualities).
The world-building is in line with other things he's done, and always struck me as absurd.
We haven't seen a huge rise in illiteracy, and in fact text communication is much more the norm than it was when that book was written (because of computers including smartphones).
We don't have "abandoned areas", though I've seen news reports treating Detroit almost that way.
His figure of 90,000 traffic fatalities is absurd (nearly 3x reality), and we have a lot more people driving than he did. The world and US population are both given as almost exactly what we have now, though. But he treats that as hugely crowded, and it hasn't made very much difference at all moving from 1960s levels to this, that I can see (the book is from 1970).
Street violence has dropped from when the novel was written, though you wouldn't know it to hear Republicans bleating in terror about "urban youth".