“What all the whoreoscopes seemed to imply was that if only you were narcissistic enough, if only you took proper care of your smells, your hair, your boobs…you would meet a beautiful powerful, potent, and rich man who would satisfy every longing…And the crazy part of it was that even if you were clever…you were brainwashed all the same.”
–Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
Almost 40 years ago Erica Jong published Fear of Flying. Jong, who was as explicit as anyone can be without writing a Fifty Shades of Grey novel, caused huge controversy. Her book detailed the sexual desires of Isadora Wing, a young ambivalent poet who found herself stuck in an unsatisfying marriage. Throughout the book Isadora describes her relationship to her husband, her lover, and her overwhelming need to find a relationship that fills her every desire.
Even though I’m trying to, Fear of Flying is one of those books that can’t really be described, it has to be experienced. While I read the book I found myself frustrated with Isadora, pulling my hair out at her indecisiveness and need to have someone (a man) in her life, but at the same time I sympathized with her. Here was a character that was not unlike myself–young, confused, and in need of support. This is why I enjoyed the book so much. For the first time ever, I was able to hear a voice that resonated with me, a voice that shouted out loud what I had been too afraid to whisper, too inarticulate to explain. This might be a bit of a stretch though. Fear of Flying was written at a time where a book as explicit and forthcoming as it is, was needed.
Today’s views on women have changed, and the ideas in Fear of Flying may not be as relevant to today’s American culture. Regardless, I still recommend the book to anyone interested in delving deeper into the idea of marriage, sex, and relationships.
With that said, a word of caution: this book can be kind of a hit or miss. Erica Jong is fearless in her use of words and scenarios that would otherwise be taboo, some even in today’s world. I highly encourage anyone that is the slightest bit interested to learn more about the novel here.
Happy reading! 🙂
“I know some good marriages. Second marriages mostly. Marriages where both people have outgrown the bullshit of me-Tarzan, you-Jane and are just trying to get through their days by helping each other, being good to each other, doing the chores as they come up and not worrying too much about who does what. Some men reach that delightfully relaxed state of affairs about age forty or after a couple of divorces. Maybe marriages are best in middle age. When all the nonsense falls away and you realize you have to love one another because you’re going to die anyway.”
–Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
Post by Gaby