Mary Rodgers Beryl Robinson - Essay

Beryl Robinson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Freaky Friday is as] bright and breezy as the title, a truly funny story about a girl who awakens one morning in her mother's body, and who—during an incredible day of revelation and opportunity—sees herself as others see her and faces her mixed-up adolescent problems squarely…. She receives surprising insight into her mother's problems…. There is wisdom as well as humor in this fresh, original story, and the impact, despite the story's fantastic basis, is successful and convincing. (p. 378)

Beryl Robinson, in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1972 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), August, 1972.

[Freaky Friday takes place in New York and deals with adolescent growing pains. The characters are smart but the problems and preoccupations are not very far out]; middle-class television comedy is about the mark. It has a marvellous theme—bright but bolshie teenage Annabel wakes up one morning as her mother, and finds in the proper tradition of magical wish-fulfilment that life is not quite as cushy as she expects. Some of it is very well done, properly uncomfortable and again, very funny—for instance, the supposedly parental interview with her headmaster in which she starts by defending but ends up lambasting herself—but it is also a bit schmaltzy at times, and falters sadly at the revelation that mom herself has engineered the switch; she will not say how and Annabel cannot imagine—no doubt the author could not either….

[The book is somewhat glossy and ends a little too neatly], with ugly duckling Annabel converted into a swan. (p. 1433)

The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1973; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), November 23, 1973.