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Customer Review

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erica flies only so high, 26 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Fear Of Flying (Paperback)
This is not a book for those who are easily shocked - it may date back to the 70s, but it pulls no punches, and, for example, the main character refers to parts of her body in very direct terms.

Although I enjoyed reading it, I doubt whether the material in it all actually holds together well as a novel. In particular, the chapter entitled The Madman (chapter 12?) registered with me as very striking, but it did not follow on where the previous chapter left off, and this is where the disjointedness of the book began. The chapter is given credit at the front of the book for having been published in a magazine, albeit in a different version, and, unfortunately, that is how it reads in the context of the book to that point - it is in a different style, and, although the content is very good, it does not fit in. The two or three chapters that follow it also do not, with the result that, whereas this may not be as much of a problem as the one hundred and fifty odd pages of diary in Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall that breaks that novel's back, it is then not possible to resume, as Jong, seeks to do, the narrative approach that preceded this group.

With this (major) exception, the book is very well written, and Jong shows the breadth of her reading by making literary references that are utterly convincing in the mouth of her heroine, rather than, as such allusions can be, for the sake of it or to impress the reader and/or make him or her feel knowledageable that they have been identified.

Give this book a go, but it is questionable whether it lives up to some of the more extreme claims that have been made for it, however well it addresses sexual and other issues, because the characterization is not wholly convincing: for example, a British psychiatrist who is a devotee of R. D. Laing might have said 'ducks' all the time as term of endearment, but I rather doubt it...
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