Book 23: Fear of Flying, July 23

Posted on 24.07.2014

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EricaJongx400_Advocate23. Fear of Flying, Erica Jong  (July 23)
The final in my ‘female voices’ set, I began this almost immediately after finishing The Color Purple. That might have been a bit of a mistake. I went from a beautiful story of a strong woman living a hard life, to a difficult story about a neurotic woman.

To be fair, this book has been hailed as one of the feminist masterpieces of its time. I would agree with that, but it felt at times that the book or writer was almost taking the piss out of herself.

On one hand, it’s written in an autobiographical tone and is very stream-of-conscious, on the other hand, it’s completely self-aware of being read and seen (or in my case, heard) as the ramblings of a spoiled, neurotic, successful woman. I’m glad that Erica chose to discuss topics like sex, boredom, and always wanting what you don’t have. But to go from Walker to Jong in the same day might have made me just a little annoyed at her.

Clearly, in regards to The Color Purple, I was angry FOR the protagonist and sad to see her go through such things. But moving to Fear of Flying directly after that made me have a Catcher in the Rye response: just finish the fucking story, already!

It’s not a bad story. It’s a good story. She follows what she wants, and it’s not what she expected. This is always the case. Her fear of flying becomes the metaphor for her fear of commitment. So in the end, is she any closer to having reconciled that fear, after her experiences? The story ends, and we have to guess.

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Posted in: books, reviews