Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fear of Flying-Erica Jong

Fear of Flying-Erica Jong

the facts
satisfaction: side
pages: 340
gender: F
nationality: USA
year: 1973
Novel

"the ground-breaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation—and sold more than twelve million copies. Now, after thirty years, the iconic novel still stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood"

So I get it how this could be ground-breaking. I mean, female sexuality? Say it ain't so! We still need a little bit more recognition of this today and so yeah, a book that frankly acknowledges sexuality and women enjoying sex would be groundbreaking after decades of shame and hiding.

But for me in 2012, there was a bit too much gratuitous sex. I mean, it was like I get it, she is a sexual being. SEXUAL BEING! But you know what, so am I and I have no need to be so crude because that's what Isadora was, crude to the extent that it wasn't sexy anymore. It instead was often awkward like hearing your gynecologist abandon scientific names for everything. Nor, let me tell you, do I think so constantly about it. It seemed that Isadora thought about nothing other than sex and psychology for 'chapters' at a time. What a one dimensional way to live life! It kept making me think about how men are accused of just thinking about sex every five minutes...is having a female character do the same really that interesting and groundbreaking? Or it is just as destructive to the idea of a sexual being as the male assumption is? It's like, hey, women have all these stereotypes about our sexuality-let's just adopt male stereotypes into a female character because we're just assuming that men have all the good things about life. It's not really ground breaking, it's depressingly patriarchially status quo.

Okay, that out of the way, Isadora is nevertheless a timeless character. She is human. A human female full of contradictions, uncertainties, fears and fantasies. This book is a product of its time with the strong threads of psychiatry throughout which was so heavy handed. I'm talking at least one heavily patriarchal psychology 101 theory every 5 pages. I hope that if this were written today, we'd not have that so much. It's Isadora's internal monologue (when she's not just thinking about sex) that's timeless with many "aha, that's true!" moments. Her actions though....could not relate to them at all especially since there was no attempt to not make Adrian a total douchebag. I suppose he's an acceptable character by 1970s standards (I'm in my 20s, what do I know about the '70s) but nowadays? Just grow up! He's soooo annoyingly immature. There was also no real plot, the book just kept going. It was as immature as the characters.

Quite frankly it was all a bit sordid and depressing. I mean, adult relationships were painted in such a pessimistic light! I still enjoyed it for those passages that really were timeless and you know spoke to me but those moments were few and in between. And the more I think about it after reading, the more I kind of hate the book.

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