Fear of Flying (dream ramble and preliminary book review)

Fear of FlyingFear of Flying by Erica Jong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bookshelves: chick-lit, cult-classic, feminism, literary-fiction, too-sexy-for-my-mom, trashiest-trash

So, probably because I’m a little bit nervous about driving into Seattle to meet friends for brunch today, because I get nervous about things like that, a flying dream just woke me. In it I was saying to the Tominator, “Oh my God, it’s tomorrow we fly out to go on our cruise…where are we going, again? Oh, right, Amsterdam. I think I’ll stay home today, because we have to pack and I didn’t get any sleep last night and I’m feeling anxious and a bit sick to my stomach, and I need to print off tickets and find our passports…” Like I’d ever leave preparations so late, but this was the Dreamtime, which almost by definition is loaded with allegory for other stuff. I was trying to belay my anxiety by picturing the awesome Facebook check-in I could do. Everybody else is checking in at boring old Milwaukee and Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth but I’m checking in at Amsterdam. Like a boss! (I really need to stop comparing 100% of my life to the best 5% of everybody else’s life, and stay off Facebook.) In real life, I am traveling home to Nevada to visit in a couple of weeks, and I’m going by train, because I am just that terrified of flying (and I adore traveling by train). When the Tominator and I took a Mexican Riviera cruise a few years ago, we lumbered overland from Reno to the terminal in Long Beach.

As I slowly came awake, Fear of Flying was in my head. This is another I read ages ago, as a teenager. I seem to remember picking it up at my grandmother’s house, although maybe not. Neither she nor my mother ever tried to censor my reading, but I also remember having the wisdom (or sneakiness; discretion is the better part of valor either way) to keep this one hidden in my book bag. I’m not sure how much the book had to do with actual flying and I believe that was probably an allegory, as it was in my dream. “How can you be in Venice and be depressed? Take two gondoliers and call me in the morning” is pretty much all I recall from the book. Precocious and wild as I was at sixteen or so, I only barely got that joke. And reveled in it. I kept the book hidden because I already knew I didn’t want the inevitable arch looks from adults as sauce for my naiveté.

So, only barely awake, I rolled over in bed and grabbed my Kindle and went online and checked out Fear of Flying from my library. God, I love electronic borrowing! Finals week is coming up. Next weekend will be my first study-free weekend in a couple of months. I’ve earned a trashy beach read for my train trip home. I’m giving it four stars for now, which may be revised after I’ve re-read it.

And how about that re-issue cover art? They never would have got away with that in 1973!


Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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