As a writer and a reader, there is before and after moment for me. There is the moment I started reading Erica Jong’s classic and sometimes controversial (depending on your point of view) 1973 novel, Fear Of Flying. Then there is the moment after and you realize that you will never read a novel or see the world the same way again. Ms. Jong’s late 20’s coming of age novel is the story of discovering yourself as an adult and making decisions based on what is real versus what is fantasy.
Ms. Jong’s literary doppelganger, Isadora Wing, is traveling to Vienna with her second husband for a psychiatry conference. Her sexual fantasy, known as the zipless f*ck appears in the form of Adrian Goodlove, an Englishman who is very willing to take part in Isadora’s sexual’s fantasies. But the sexual fantasy will soon fade as Adrian forces Isadora to face her past, her choices and choose her future.
If I were to make a list of all of the books I have read and put them in order of how influential they were in my life, Fear Of Flying would be in the top five. I read it when I was twenty seven and my life was forever changed. I understood Isadora from the first page. She is a woman still discovering who she is and what she wants out of life. Those are questions that we normally ask ourselves as teenagers, but they surprisingly still come up ten years later. Ms. Jong is open as a writer, both emotionally and sexually. She is a balls to the wall writer who uses her writing both as a form of expression and a form of therapy.
What I love about this book is that it opened the door to other female authors. Women, both as writers and readers, are not as confined to certain genres or characters as they once were. We are freer than we were to write and read as we feel, even if the story goes against what is considered popular or appropriate for a female.
I recommend this book.