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Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  595 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Erica Jong began this book as a guide for aspiring writers. It was to be a book full of practical advice, inspiring examples, and sage wisdom ("Dare to dream," for instance). But she quickly realized that writing such a book would be dishonest, a way to veil the difficult nature of the writer's life with platitudes and encouragement. A demon out of an Isaac Singer story wh ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 16th 2006 by Tarcher (first published January 1st 2006)
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Katie
Jan 10, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Jong's 1973 debut FEAR OF FLYING in my basement at 14, and it was the most thrilling overnight-read of my life. I spied it on a forgotten shelf on a private quest for a “sex book,” which was any book in which sex was implied, discussed, or— please, lord— described. The front cover featured a woman's full hips and the curve and shadow of the underneath of her breasts; the rest of her body, and her face, obscured by what looked to me like a cream satin body bag, unzipped.

The book, (a
...more
Alexis
Jun 09, 2009 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
You know, I'm not sure if this is gauche or not, but I love Erica Jong. I love her fearlessness, her ability to talk about desire and her ability to talk about meeting famous people like Henry Miller and Barbra Streisand. I love that she's irreverent and candid and imperfect and makes mistakes. I love that she talks about sex and women in such an honest way.

This book contained a lot of interesting info and stories on writing, the writing life, and Jong's life. It came along at the perfect time s
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Jong, who has never managed to repeat the success of Fear of Flying, which she penned at the age of 31, offers a memoir whose original intention__to give advice to aspiring writers__is lost in a haze of largely unconnected and, according to many critics, gratuitous anecdotes. Though Jong has written 19 other books, the spirit of Isadora Wing, Fear of Flying's heroine, haunts her at every turn. As a result, Seducing the Demon feels derivative. Some critics applaud Jong for remaining steadfastly h

...more
Rachelle
Aug 17, 2010 Rachelle rated it did not like it
Overblown, narcissistic and embarrassing. It's a sad day when Erica Jong's life becomes a bore and we realise we don't give a damn anymore.
Jill
Feb 27, 2009 Jill rated it really liked it
A must read for all us becoming women of "a certain age"
Laurel-Rain
Jun 28, 2011 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
A writer's life may be a solitary one, but in Erica Jong's testament to how writing saved her life, we learn about how the anecdotes of one's life can fill the pages and "people" the writer's world. In the company of one's characters, then, the writer isn't really alone. Writing can also be a way to assuage the pain of difficult childhoods and "reinvent" those times in our lives that are dreary, depressing, or during which we feel powerless.

There is power in the written word, and using that powe
...more
Marsha
Jun 29, 2008 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Woman writers
Recommended to Marsha by: Bought at a Friends of the Library sale
Erica Jong's book is both autobiographical and about writing. This book should be recommended to writing students everywhere. Ms. Jong became famous when she was in her 20s for writing her revolutionary novel, "Fear of Flying." I have not yet read this novel, but I will need to add it to my to-read list. I remember in my teens growing up with the feminist movement and sexual revolution. Back in the 1970s, books by woman opening up about sexual freedom were new and refreshing. Now, it is commonpl ...more
Natascha
Jun 16, 2011 Natascha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Rarely have I read a book this honest, then again Jong's writing that it's important to her to be honest when writing and she'd definitely managed that in my opinion. The stories told feel strangely alive and having mostly read books for sheer entertainment, coming face to face with a character such as the one of Erica Jong... Well it's something else entirely! Now you could say of course, it's an autobiography, it's a real person after all. But in times of Facebook and other social communities ...more
Luisa Fer
Feb 01, 2009 Luisa Fer rated it really liked it
I've read enough books by writers on writing. I used to read them avidly, like most of us who write sensless, looking for a clue. Some look for the magic formula that will help them write the book of their life, other look for hope, as if a writer was some sort of preacher. I have looked for both, but after reading quite a few and saying enough with this romantic silliness a writer friend gave me this one and I began to read for entertainments sake. I'd never read anything by Erica Jong and I re ...more
Stacey
Jan 07, 2008 Stacey rated it liked it
I picked up this book from the Bargain Book shelf mainly because I decided that 2008 would be the year of the autobiography (and because I knew that Martha Stewart faults Erica Jong with the end of her marriage - she had an affair with Martha's husband...)

I have never read Fear of Flying, though I, of course, know of it and I will add it to my list. This book increased my interest in it.

In any case, Seducing the Demon is made up of four parts and she manages to weave in her love of reading and
...more
Judith
Aug 06, 2010 Judith rated it it was ok
In the seventies I read Fear of Flying (didn't everyone) and I loved it. It was a whole new world for women, and critical to the Women's Movement.
I read this book thinking it would be a good personal account of the author's life. I got nothing. She had an affair with Martha Stewart's husband - big deal. That was the only major thing she told us about. Perhaps this book was not meant to be a tell all memoir like most I read. Considering how outspoken Erica Jong usually is, I am disappointed she h
...more
Sarah
Jun 13, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
Bought this years ago when it first came out and read it in one urgent gulp when I needed it most. It's comforting to find out that some of the weirdest things that go on in your head are really a vital part of your profession, and Jong's candidness is startling and refreshing by turns. The stories could've gone into more detail toward the end (the introduction and first chapter are PERFECT and it seems to rush itself a bit after that), and I don't think I agree with her conclusive assertion tha ...more
Jennifer
Mar 30, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: writers, but not to be taken too seriously
Recommended to Jennifer by: The sale box at Borders
I wish this book was more about what it is like to be an author. After reading it, I am more convinced that I will never write fiction. Ever.
Perhaps I should have let more time pass after reading "Parachutes and Kisses" as this book made it clear that Jong's writing is more than just influenced by her own life and its events. It was like reading the same book, worded only slightly differently.
My problem with this book wa sthat it was all over the place. I would call only parts of it memoir, the
...more
Amanda
Jul 22, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok
Jong has some valuable tips on writing, but they are buried within the story of her life - which is the main focus of this book. While she has certainly had some noteworthy dalliances and weathered her fair share of events, I would not recommend this book for anyone wanting to exclusively improve their own writing skills.

Interesting stories included in the book: Her relationship with Ted Hughes, and her role in Martha Stewart's divorce. Very salacious!
Marjorie
Sep 15, 2010 Marjorie rated it liked it
This book is written for writers or for anyone willing to tell the truth about themselves out in the fresh, clean air. I applaud Jong for being an honest, assertive and intense writer. This is more memoir than a how-to book on writing, but there is much here to encourage all writers to persevere -- for all our sakes
Serena
Aug 21, 2009 Serena rated it liked it
I always love Erica Jong, but this book was a little scattered, for her--moments of brilliance, with some really vague tangents. I LOVE her honesty, always. According to Henry Miller, EJ's first novel would inspire women writers to follow in her footsteps. That was in 1978 or so. So WHERE ARE THEY? I've still not discovered anyone who even comes close to her level of bravery in writing.
Natascha
Jan 08, 2012 Natascha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's interested in writing or in an honest book full of wisdom and truth
Recommended to Natascha by: my school
Shelves: favorites
I rarely read books twice - this one I did. After reading the English eBook version I bought myself a paperback copy in German. It's now full of notes, marked paragraphs and post-it's. I loved it and I'm sure I could read the whole thing again... and again.

This book is definitely my favorite <3
Amy
Jan 19, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok
Various thoughts about writing along with some name-dropping, sexual escapades, feminist and political statements, and living quite a privileged life. Mostly entertaining, not especially compelling except for a few brief moments. Makes me think, once again, that I should read Fear of Flying, as it seems that she hasn't escaped its shadow and at this point probably never will.
Taylor
This wasn't as fascinating as her fiction, and while I found it almost a little too back-patting at times, I think it's a good insight into her mind and what motivates and inspires her, as well as her take on some of the other big names in women authors, and the dilemmas we often face. Definitely recommended for anyone who's into Erica Jong, or even just women authors in general.
Azra
Apr 04, 2012 Azra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know what to expect when I read this book, considering the only other book I've read by this author was Fear of Flying. It turned out to be a great read. I will always come back to pages 238 and 239, which has her advice about what any creative endeavor requires - a certain rebelliousness, or as she puts it "a fuck you attitude."

Suzan Bond
Mar 24, 2013 Suzan Bond rated it really liked it
Erica Jong of course is an amazing writer. She has a way with words that few people possess. For this reason alone her book is worth a read. The thing that made me knock off a star was all her name dropping. I wanted more about writing rather than talking about her famous friends. But still her writing is solid and so is the advice she gives.
Tabetha Wallace
Jun 22, 2009 Tabetha Wallace rated it liked it
I adore Jong's work and really wanted this to be a book on writing but was disappointed to find it was a rehash of stories I've already read or heard. What I learned is that she writes about her life which wasn't all that surprising. It was a fun read though.
Suzie
May 17, 2010 Suzie rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where you flip the last page over with your mouth gaping open in shock and awe. Bold. Unapologetic. Self-deprecating. I'll definitely be reading more of her work. I got a fever . . . and the only prescription is more Erica!
Laura Durnell
Nov 19, 2009 Laura Durnell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-by-friends
This book is on my desk along with all my other books about writing. She sent me an extra copy that I could mark up with my marginalia and underlining.

I bought it from Brent Books on a Friday after an exhausting week of teaching writing at DePaul.
Angela
Feb 15, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
My favorite lesson from this book is that good writers have to overcome the fear of offending:friends, family members and all those who could find themselves, whether accurately or not, depicted in one's writing.
Barbara Rice
Apr 26, 2009 Barbara Rice rated it it was ok
Probably the most readable and least whiny of Jong's most recent books. By the time I read this I had lost the notion that Erica Jong had anything valuable to say about women; she is obsessed with penises and tries to make that a political statement.
Joell
Mar 21, 2011 Joell rated it liked it
This book does ramble at times, but it's honest and refreshing and that's what we have come to expect from Erica Jong over the years.
Nita
Apr 30, 2012 Nita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books, memoir
I wish I'd written this review when I'd just read the book. All I recall is that I really enjoyed it and that she's still a great writer.
Basila Hasnain
Jun 21, 2013 Basila Hasnain rated it it was amazing
It is actually one of the most vibrant book i have read..almost alive as you turn the pages you see the writer's lips moving and forming the words out of emotions ..right there right now
Sabrina Chapadjiev
Oct 12, 2009 Sabrina Chapadjiev rated it did not like it
read this long time ago. Heard that Jong was a major feminist. I would have never got that from this book.
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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
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“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.” 114 likes
“Beware of books. They are more than innocent assemblages of paper and ink and string and glue. If they are any good, they have the spirit of the author within. Authors are rogues and ruffians and easy lays. They are gluttons for sweets and savories. They devour life and always want more. They have sap, spirit, sex. Books are panderers. The Jews are not wrong to worship books. A real book has pheromones and sprouts grass through its cover.” 55 likes
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