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How to Save Your Own Life Paperback – July 6, 2006
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About the Author
Erica Jong is the author of nineteen books of poetry, fiction, and memoir, including Fear of Flying, which has more than 18 million copies in print worldwide. Her most recent essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, and she is a frequent guest on television talk shows. Currently working on a novel featuring Isadora Wing—the heroine of Fear of Flying—as a woman of a certain age, Erica and her lawyer husband live in New York City and Connecticut. Her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, is also an author.
Erica Jong left a Ph.D. program at Columbia to write her ground-breaking novel Fear of Flying, published in 1973. Jong is the author of numerous award-winning books of poetry and novels including Fanny, How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, Any Woman’s Blues, and the forthcoming Sappho’s Leap. She is also the author of the memoir Fear of Fifty. She lives in New York City and Connecticut.
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Top Customer Reviews
He husband was a jerk because he had an affair with someone else but yet she was having affairs left and right the whole time. And she really hates him because he fell in love and seems to have found happiness (I'm not sure she didn't develop it further)?
She has a one affair with a women but she seems eager to split with her as soon as she finds a good man. Only happy with the pleasure she receives from the women.
And her big new love of her life is just man with a big penis. I don't get anything information about that character except that he has a huge penis (I'm thinking this book was more a revenge Erica's ex-husband).
I guess that I miss the whole point of the book. I guess it is a book about a "women" expressing her sexual life with freedom but then it just comes out as too selfish to me.
She starts "leaving" at the beginning of the book, and then she leaps into affairs as a way of propelling her forward. It takes the length of the book--and many months--for the leave-taking to happen, but it's a journey, a process, and there is guilt, pain, fear, and all kinds of negative emotions that accompany her along the way.
The final impetus is a younger man whom she meets in Hollywood, while on a trip to turn her bestselling novel into a movie. He is like her "second half," and they can almost read each other's thoughts. He seems to be her perfect mate. On her way home, with her plan to really leave motivating her, she thinks about the different lifestyles between New York (her home) and LA (her lover's home). I like this passage:
"The flight from Los Angeles to New York takes only five hours, but the real distance should be measured in light years. Los Angeles is more different from New York than New York is from London or Stockholm or Paris. Someday scientists will discover the invisible gas that fills the air in Southern California, making the most uptight, cynical Easterners relax, take off their clothes, lie in the sun, divorce their spouses, build swimming pools, take up Zen meditation, visit spiritualists, and in general behave as if they've found God through sex, nudity, and sun-worship.
"To return to New York from Los Angeles is always to experience a profound psychic shock...."
So what will Isadora discover about herself in this journey? Will she learn that living with her love match can be the idealistic escape she had imagined? Will she remake marriage to include experimentation and openness? Or will she find that the same old problems come back in new versions, taking shape in different ways, but still just a repetition of old patterns?
I loved How to Save Your Own Life, as it reminded me of some of my own journeys during those idyllic times. Looking back, I don't regret my journey, any more than Isadora (or her creator) does. We learned a lot about ourselves and the nature of love, and even when we were disappointed, as we often are in life, we are happy to have taken the leap of faith into new experiences that ultimately defined us.