Monthly Archives: April 2008

FEAR OF FLYING BY ERICA JONG

Vintage (Australia). 340 pages.

This 1970’s classic truly deserves its “zipless” reputation.  Isadora Wing, who is married to her psychoanalyst, is restless, insecure, but highly perceptive and is a remarkable writer.  Having had countless therapies, she is well versed on psychological terms and complexes, and perhaps overly so. She is constantly on the search for that “Zipless F*ck”– what it is and how it is executed, she perfectly describes in the book.

Confused and torn–she compromises her marriage to the steady Bennett Wing, and scurries off with the revolting Adrian Goodlove–who doesn’t give any good loving at all –in both sense of the word.

Fear of Flying is so much more than just the ’70’s sexual revolution’ that it is known for. I initially thought I could compare it with “The Bride Stripped Bare” but they are entirely different. ‘The Bride Stripped” is sensous, poetic, and hypnotic where as “Flying” is blunt, funny, sexy and very much real.

How real the book is , is debatable, as many are convinced that Fear of Flying is a semi-autobiographical work of Jong. The characters, coincidences and plot are too parallel to be considered fiction.

Whether it is fiction or not, Fear

of Flying has definitely made it home to my top 15 books.

Erica Jong

News has it that Maggie Gyllenhaal will play the role of Isadora Wing for the movie adaptation

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TULLY BY PAULLINA SIMONS

Flamingo (Harper Collins Publishers). 611pages

Like all other books in the TOP 100 BOOKS list (of both Dymocks and Angus & Robertson), I’ve been seeing this book for a while now but haven’t even given it a thought. Picked it up a few times and the synopsis looked belugh (very typical).

And then I saw a former co-worker bringing this book everyday (despite the massive thickness). She told me I just HAVE to read it. It was her 5th time re-reading it so naturally, I was intrigued.

The story revolves around Natalie Anne “Tully” Makker, growing up in Topeka, Kansas in the 70’s with her two bestfriends–Julie Martinez and Jennifer Mandolini.

Dark dreaded family secrets and undertones of V.C Andrew elements surface when storyline shows that Tully comes home to an abusive and overbearing mother who, because she’s convinced her rebellious daughter is a SL*T, always beats her to a pulp.

A disastrous incident happens just before the girls graduate from high school and as all disasters do, it “changes their lives forever”.

Tully soon steps into adulthood–gaining independence, getting married and having a family. But one thing remains the same–she’s still a woman of few words, stoic, and selfish.

I can clearly see why so many people love this book. The story gets you hooked, it’s very captivating (especially at the beginning) –and it has such a perfect storyline for a soapie. As the lead person in  the book, Tully’s character is strongly established that you will feel you know her head to toe, you feel you can complete her sentences which are always dripping with sarcasm.

I didn’t feel any ounce of compassion for Tully at all and the choices she make always destroyed the lives of people who care for her. I think that one important thing in making and developing a character, is to make him/her at least moderately likeable enough. Tully’s heartlessness is too unbelievable that I wanted her to suffer in the end.

I’m not going to make sense if you haven’t read the book, and I’m not about to give away any plot bombs, but I thought the story ended very pathetically. The author made a long path/development for Tully to engage herself in a situation that compromised her marriage and friendship. But it felt too rushed in the end, when she makes yet another lousy decision.

Like I said, in terms of dramatic entertainment, Tully is really good. It’s a story that will definitely make a big impact. But I just can’t stand how the other characters in the story could be so dumb.

Overall verdict: Highly entertaining but at the same time frustrating.

Paullina Simons, author of “Tully”