Fear Of Flying
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Fear Of Flying

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  10,283 ratings  ·  871 reviews
Compulsive daydreamer Isadora Wing doesn't want much -- just to be free and to find the perfect, guiltless, "zipless" sexual encounter. Pursuing this ideal across two continents, she discovers just how hard it can be to make one's dreams come true.
Published (first published 1973)
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iw69: hello. i want you now

mannyrayner: do we know each other?

iw69: not at all, that's the point. i thought we could just have a completely no-strings-attached sexual encounter for its own sake, and then say goodbye. wouldn't that be poetic and beautiful?

mannyrayner: um, well, maybe. i'm sorry, i guess i should just be doing this and not analyzing it. can i at least have a name or will that ruin everything?

iw69: i'm isadora

mannyrayner: that's a pretty name. pardon me for being so old-fashioned

Aug 02, 2008 Jessica marked it as aborted-efforts  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: zipless fuckers?
Recommended to Jessica by: i'm not so sure anyone did....
Earlier on this evening I was talking to my sainted mother on the telephone, and she noted that I seemed to be "reading a lot of intellectual books lately," to which I reacted with vehemently indignant daughterly rage: "I am NOT, Mom!"

Why my mother's comment should seem so thoroughly offensive is a fitting subject for my analyst (a mythical figure about whom I love to fantasize but probably wouldn't enjoy much if he actually existed), though not so much for the internet, but I've got poor bounda...more
Let me start off by saying that I liked this book - I really did. Isadora Wing (with a name like that, Erica Jong brings the concept of 'thinly veiled autobiography' to new heights) is an exuberant and lovable character. I thought the writing was very good in parts, even though other parts read as if a six-year-old Erica was sitting in her bedroom with a Barbie and two Ken dolls, mashing them together and transcribing the dialogue (she does say she fell in love with her husband because of his sm...more
Taylor K.
For whatever reason (possibly because someone I recommended it to wasn't that thrilled by it), I feel a bit like I need to defend this book lately, and since I reviewed it when I first joined this site and most people were writing shorter reviews, I'd like to give it a better write-up.

The premise of Fear of Flying is fairly simple: Isadora White Wing is in a marriage she isn't exactly happy with. Her husband isn't especially warm to her, nor is he incredibly supportive of her career (like Jong,...more
Jennifer March
At first, I found FEAR OF FLYING hilarious. She talks nonstop about sex and analysis, dropping the F bomb like there's no tomorrow, espousing this funny social commentary about life and marriage, a quasi-feminist rant (very feminist for 1973), yet she loves it when men grab her behind (not feminist anyway you slice it). I was started reading it because it was the IT book in 1973. My mom, who would not normally read something like this, for example, read it. She HAD to read it. EVERYONE read it--...more
Petra SockieX
Zipless Fuck

My one and only one-night stand.

A review

to come

in more ways than one.
Mar 26, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with phobias of zips
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Liberté, égalité, sexualité or Pteromerhanophobia

When this book was first published the general consensus was something along the lines of "ooh madam"! and a lot of raised eye brows. I imagine people covertly reading this wrapped in brown paper and hoping that no one was looking over their shoulders on the bus or on the tube. And of course it would be the sort of thing that one simply had to hide from ones husband. Of course nowadays you could just download it onto your Kindle and make the text...more
Megan Scaison
Jun 05, 2008 Megan Scaison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: iconoclastic women, women who wish they were iconoclastic
Recommended to Megan by: my grandmother, second-wave feminism
I remember that when I called my grandmother to tell her that I was going to be in the vagina monologues, I expected her to react to the name: I expected her to be unaware of Eve Ensler and what V-Day is about. She simply said, "You should read Fear of Flying- it's like the first vagina monologue."

As it happens, she was so right. It's the kind of book you really regret not reading years earlier, when you really needed some of this information. If I'd read it as a teenager, would I have felt so c...more
20 million copies sold? A seminal feminist classic? I am nothing short of incredulous. I'd say it was the pseudo-intellectual self-absorbed ramblings of a spoilt 29-year-old 'poet' that does not stand the test of time.

But let me first say, I'm not one to dole out 1* reviews. This is my first, and as an author myself, I've wondered what can motivate a reader to such an action. But now, thank you Erica, I have seen the light! It's when the distance between the reader's expectations and what is del...more
Melissa Field
I absolutely love this book. At first I was shocked by Erica's direct way of talking about things. But the more I read the more I realized how afraid I am of sexuality. She was so brave and open and I just wanted to grab some wine and drink with the awesome woman who wrote this. I laughed out loud several times. I loved how she had been through real struggles (sorry Elizabeth Gilbert) and had lived to tell about it. She was so brave, honest and open and I couldn't put the book down until I was d...more
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Sarah Morgan
I found this very dated and not relevant to women today. Not only because the zipless fuck is less likely to happen but because the book dosen't seem to approach realtionships with any equality. The psychology of the book seemed like the most outdated part. For me the writting was not good enough to overcome the shortcomings of the story. I appreciate that the the book for the impact it made on women's sexual liberation and freedom, but not relevant in today's sexual practices or norms. More int...more
Can't judge before I finish, and I'm only halfway done. My first impressions are that this is a pioneering book in the area, and I'm supposed to judge it for its pioneeringness than because I like its intrinsic qualities. Like Jackson Pollack.

Update after I finished reading:
She's a fantastic writer with a gift for vivid storytelling, but the story of her (okay, fine, Isadora's) life isn't a particularly worthwhile one to tell. Fear of Flying seems like a particularly neurotic precursor to chick...more
More like 2 and 1/2 stars.

The 2 and 1/2 stars are for the chapters that I enjoyed reading about The History of the World Through Toilets and that lovely part when Isadora reverently spoke about her mother, Jude (not obscure). And for all the funny parts when I laughed out loud. And I think I needed to believe that the nights I spent reading this were worthwhile.

In a way, it is. Reading this book with the forced sexual escapades and crude words made me realize one thing: I am thankful that I am...more
Lauren Smith
Every kind of independence. Not for everyone, but liberating and identifiable. Go there.

I don't consider myself a radical feminist, (although dare to tell me I can't or shouldn't carry something because I'm a woman, I guarantee you there'll be hell to pay and I'll find a mistake in your grammar to boot), and, while this book was a radical book when it was published, I think Jong addresses issues that are not only revolutionary but also universally relevant (timeless and genderless). I picked thi...more
Sarah Pierce
This is considered one of the seminal second-wave feminist novels, and I can see why. It’s the story of a woman who is trying to analyze her life to see why certain things (relationships especially) went wrong. The novel follows her as she sorts through her guilt, her sexual appetites, her relationship with her family and her many years of psychoanalysis. Plus, she uses awesome 70’s slang like “bread.”
It's been a long time, but I will try. I remember that I enjoyed it, but leafing through it again I am not sure why. I think it must have been the time that I read it. I was still angry about my first marriage even though I was happily embarking on another (much better and going strong, I might add, 20-odd years later), and Jong's rants rang true. Now I just see them as rants and wonder why I didn't say 'enough already, I got it.'

The John Updike quote on the cover I don't get at all: "The most u...more
Read this book a long time ago and remember it as being both humerous and with tounge firmly in cheek a political statement on women's rights. Really enjoyed the read. I am not sure but I think it will stand the test of time well
Kate Elizabeth
I was surprised that I liked this as much as I did. It's just oh-so-very 70s, and while there are a lot of things about Isadora that I relate to - her longing simultaneously for intimacy and detachment, her uncertainty of relationships and how they work and how to be in one without sacrificing herself - she's not a particularly likeable narrator until about the last 20 pages. Still, for the most part, a pleasant surprise.

Parts I liked:

"You're not a secretary, you're a poet. What makes you think...more
When you're ready to graduate from Judy Blume, this is it.
Conrad Hall
This book was recommended as one worth reading. Having finished the book, I disagree with the recommendation.

It was groundbreaking in 1973 only because it is vulgar and crass. Erica made great efforts to shock readers by calling herself (more accurately her protagonist - Isadora), and her vagina, by the least respectful name. Worse, it is done for effect and not to propel the story.

Erica invests 353 pages describing Isadora (the protagonist) as a simp and victim. Then concludes her yarn (on page...more
Dec 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women interested in sex, psychoanalysis, and Isadora Wing!
"Fear of Flying" isn't as taboo as I've heard. While sex is big part of the story it's conveyed through the want for passion, the feeling of immediate desire, and is an element used to not feel lonely for our protagonist. In reading Henry Miller's review of "Flying" I'd say he's right on the money with his want (at the time) for more female writers to be so unhinged when it comes to our most common fears and desires and not to feel like a slut for wanting these things.

While the story has plot p...more
Samuel Williams
How is it that Isadora Wing is such a sympathetic character? She has sex on the brain constantly; she dreams about 'zipless fucks' in train carriages with strangers. Over the course of Fear of Flying, she sleeps with hundreds of men. By our society's standards, she'd be 'a slut', 'a whore', 'a loose woman'. And yet, in Jong's eyes, she's merely human. She rides through the novel on a roller coaster of the same emotions that all of us, women and men, feel. Isadora is no worse than all the sleazy...more
Traci  Medeiros
I wish I could have a more natural visceral reaction to this book but I read it from a state of being all too aware of it's controversy and place in feminism and time. I wish I had discovered a dusty copy in a grandmother's attic or untouched corner of a used bookstore because that is really how it should be read... a discovery filled with self discovery.... but I went out looking for it. It had been mentioned too many times as an example and I had to read it for myself. I did instantly feel a c...more
" became famously controversial for its attitudes towards female sexuality, and figured in the development of second-wave feminism"

"The story's American narrator is struggling to find her place in the world of academia, feminist scholarship, and in the literary world as a whole"

"The book resonated with women who felt stuck in unfulfilled marriages"

Thus the book is famous and worthwhile for the topics but for me reading the book was like remembering my young life which I am happy I
went over it...more
Karl Marx S.T.
At first, i was really hesitant to read the novel because of the authors' name.
I don't know why it annoyed me so much that i don't have the intention of reading it, if not for it's inclusion on the popular 1001 list. Well, we don't have to judge a book by its cover, but let us also put into consideration of not minding the author's surname.

The story is basically about the adventures of a 29-year-old heroine, Isadora Wing. Although Isadora is somehow indulge in her sexual fantasies, she is illust...more
There is something to be said about a writer that creates a relatable, all engrossing world within the pages of her book. For me, that is a marker of good writing – writing that speaks to me and allows me to be taken on a ride within the world of the protagonist. This creates a story that has me compulsively turning pages, eager to read more. A good writer creates a protagonist that leads herself to be a transparent guide to understand the world through her eyes, to relate her experiences with m...more
Cynthia Bugsey
I loved this book and the unabashed manner Erica Jong writes about the reality of leaving her husband and going through a phase of crazy lovers. The book is both funny YET real -- but I don't recommend it if you're sensitive to terms to 'zipless fuck'. I love the main character Isadora Wing who is a writer and who lives, loves and bleeds to write so that she can go on with her life despite all those madmen she seems to habitually pick up. Fear of Flying is one of the BEST authentic "feminist" bo...more
Meghan C.
Fear of Flying is an honest, frank, sexually graphic, unrelenting first-person account of a character who exists inside the nexus of a Venn diagram of Jewish, American, and modern female.

It is illuminating. It is exhausting.

The narrator, Isadora Wing opens the hatch to her brain within the first paragraph of the book and to read through to the end is to allow yourself to fall in and tumble all the way down, while listening to her point out things out in tour guide fashion: here are my lungs, he...more
From the moment I first heard about this book until I finally sighed heavily and said, "Oh, fine, I guess if it's a feminist classic I should read it," I had no interest in this book whatsoever. I thought it would be cheesy softcore porn. And it wasn't all that cheesy, aside from the fact that the main character was named Isadora White Wing (gag me) and another character is named Adrian Goodlove. (Seriously--that was almost enough to get me to stop reading right there.) It's also not porny; ther...more
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Erica Jong—novelist, poet, and essayist—has consistently used her craft to help provide women with a powerful and rational voice in forging a feminist consciousness. She has published 21 books, including eight novels, six volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times, the Sunday Times of London, Elle, Vogue, and the New Yor...more
More about Erica Jong...
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“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.” 528 likes
“It was easy enough to kill yourself in a fit of despair. It was easy enough to play the martyr. It was harder to do nothing. To endure your life. To wait.” 296 likes
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