Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong

This is a good read. It moves quickly and there are moments of humor and sexual mindgames to keep you turning the page. It is somewhat of a travel novel, too.

The book printing that I have is older with very small type that takes up the entire page. From an aesthetic standpoint: the cover is a bit questionable, too. But with this being an old book, those issues are beside the point.

There is humor here no matter how self-depreciating it sometimes becomes. There are many famous names, ideas, and passages used throughout the novel. The main character, Isodora, drops these intellectualisms at a steady frequency as if to demonstrate her breathe of knowledge. The character is written as such that you can't help but think it is a very close self-depiction by author Erica Jong. Of course, I could be completely wrong. The education that our protagonist holds is a hindrance as much as it is an asset. At moments she is completely confident in her brilliance and at other moments she tends to resent her education entirely. Points in the novel demonstrate how great knowledge can sometimes drive a person to the depths of human despair. It is also evident how using ones knowledge to self-evaluate your mental state can prove lethal. Isodora is a mixed-up character, literally and metaphorically, who seems to relish in the effect.

I have heard that this book is supposed to be a statement on female sexuality. I hardly found it sexy in the narrowest view. But, in a broader view of sex and the female state, it is quite sexy in a realistic way. In many instances, what you think is going to lead into a passage about great sex actually implodes with no sex happening between characters at all. There seems to be more written about when libidos fail or when even good sex is missing a much wanted, possibly needed, extra something. There is a sleazy, dull, or unfulfilling aspect to many of the scenes that Isodora finds herself in sexually. The sexiest moment in the novel is when readers are presented with the idea of the "zipless fuck." We are given a story to show how such a rendezvous works. However, the bliss and freedom that makes a "zipless fuck" what it is never materializes for Isodora. I suppose that is the main statement of the book.

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