On this occasion he produces a small rectangular box. Opening it, he reveals a new ceremonial knife, one that will be used to make a small incision in my arm. Real vampires are not undead, nor immortal, nor can they be weakened by garlic or vanquished by silver. They feed out of what they are convinced is a biological need, one that generally appears during or just after puberty. In the two years I spent studying the vampires of New Orleans for my dissertation, I found that apart from their need for blood or its psychic equivalent, there were more genuine differences among them than commonalities.
The people I met were equally men and women, ranging in age from 18 to They were self-described atheists, monotheists, and polytheists; they were single, married, and divorced; and their sexual orientations were diverse. Some vampires, but not all, also choose to adopt the trappings of vampiric fashion, like Gothic dress and prosthetic fangs some buy them stock, and others have custom acrylic dental prosthetics made from molds.
Just as same-sex desire is distinct from the socio-cultural practices of the gay community, so being vampire is first a bodily need, then a set of personal and social practices for expressing it. But, when the lights go down, when the shops close up for the night and the moon rises overhead, the fangs go in and the vampires come out. Feeding is governed by The Donor Bill of Rights , a pact between donor and vampire to promote safety and well-being, both physical and social.
Real vampires perform the blood-letting ritual only with willing donors—friends, family members, significant others, or members of donor networks—and usually only after both the vampire and the donor have their blood tested. Some vampires use sterile single-use thermoplastic medical tubing to extrude blood into small receptacles for drinking on the spot, or for later storage; others may use sterile blades to make small incisions on the donor, and drink directly from the wound before cleaning and bandaging it.
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Real vampires do not always feed. They socialize as well, especially with others of their own kind. The use of terms and practices like these across the vampire community has been crucial to unifying it, helping its members construct a narrative about themselves. In popular culture, vampirism is associated with psychopathology, excess, and a general sense of social disconnection. In the early s, some of the first organizations dedicated to studying vampires were also taking shape. But between and , Youngson began receiving letters from people who self-identified as vampires.
Isadora has become insufferablea spoiled, self-centered, neurotic, hyprocrite angry at her husband after discovering he had a longterm affair. The "novel" is one long winded rumination after another about how horrible her relationship is with her husband who is indifferent to her whining, selfishness, and neediness. There a lot of potty language and raunchy sex thrown in for shock value and then culiminates with several pages of cringe inducing poetry Isadora spends her days either whining to her extremely patient friends or screwing one lover, then skipping across town to screw another lover, then slinking back home to angrily screw her husband.
Not to mention she also dabbles in some sapphic delights with her lesbian friend who finally has an orgasm by cramming a champagne bottle up her hoohoo and participates in a drug and booze fueled orgy. Yet hypocritically she remains angry at her "boring" husband for having an affair. Then Isadora finally finds the guts to leave her husband not through some incredible sense of inner strength but through the arms of another younger man.
So much for feminism. So much for being strong, independent, self-sufficent women who don't need a man to complete them. Isadora is only happy if she has a man, preferably with a large cock.
I really enjoyed Fear of Flying and it's a good thing women have come a long way since the 70s because How to Save Your Own Life sets feminism back at least five steps. It's no wonder Jong is one of the most revered and reviled feminists of the 20th century. Apr 30, Torie rated it did not like it. I really wanted to like this book after being so disgusted by the stories of the passive women in Sara Davidson's "Loose Change. I kind of feel the same way about Erica Jong's book, which is the story of the time she spent psyching herself up to leave her husband.
While Isadora, the Jong character, isn't exactly pas I really wanted to like this book after being so disgusted by the stories of the passive women in Sara Davidson's "Loose Change. While Isadora, the Jong character, isn't exactly passive, her desperation for male companionship and her paralyzing indecisiveness were way too tiresome to spend an entire novel reading about. Her critique of fame, which is ostensibly what the book wants to be, is overshadowed by annoying talk of psychoanalysis and other boring, self-indulgent trends of the 's.
Erica Jong is a good writer, and at the very least she has a very feminist sensibility, but loveless bourgeois marriages and their attendant hypocrisy, deception, and guilt can only be played over and over for so long before it becomes embarrassing. Apr 26, Barbara Rice rated it it was ok. Her own life, she means. Jong still whining about men and then running to them. Nov 13, Lyddie rated it it was ok. How to Save Your Own Life is the second installment in the story and, holy crap, what a disappointment.
Isadora has become truly nauseating, a bourgeois writer with nothing better to do than complain about her husband, have countless affairs, and go on incessantly about the guilt. Most of the characters in the entire book are incredibly difficult to like. And yet, I kept turning the pages. For nearly three hundred pages, Isadora laments about her cold and unresponsive husband, Bennett. But — so is she! Isadora appears to be doomed, sexually and romantically. Unfortunately, in the Epilogue, we get a glimpse of their married life and — sweaty, Herculean sex aside - we come to realize there is something wrong with the picture Jong paints in the final pages.
Horribly wrong. They play an odd game together, a power struggle of the most masochistic kind. Perhaps this is simply the environment of marriage, and no matter how many times you escape one demented relationship, your fate is to fall into another. Maybe we are hardwired to play these games.
But, by jumping from one man to the other, she never has to make a decision one way or another. It made me angry, and frustrated and outright annoyed. It seems insane to become one-hundred percent dependent on the experience of our bodies to keep us happy. Regardless, the prose is painfully honest. It feels like Jong was trying too hard to connect the dots for us. Maybe Jong was trying to re-appropriate the term from something traditionally offensive to powerful, feminist sexual vocabulary; a noble effort, but ultimately troublesome and completely lost on me.
Aug 12, Hannah rated it liked it. Got this at a library book sale and was intrigued by the dust jacket: "Erica Jong was rich and famous, brainy and beautiful, and soaring high with erotica and marijuana in , the year this book was first published. At one point, Isadora decides that it's better to be 25 at 33 then never to be 25 at all. A story of sex, experimentation, pain, marriage, Hm. A story of sex, experimentation, pain, marriage, affairs, feminism, success.
Also some extremely graphic sex so heads up! One of my favorite parts: "I never want to hear you use that word painful again," he said. Do you read Leaves of Grass? I love it. In face, I've never seen the point of pain at all. The trick is not how much pain you can feel - but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain.
Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses. When you wind up in bed at the age of eighty-seven like me, the only pain you'll feel is got all the useless pain you felt, all the times you let yourself not do something because of fear and cowardice, all the times you let the bastards and the kibbitzers and the life-shrinkers hold you back.
Watch out for the death-people, do you see what I mean? They need you - or they have nothing to write about - but you don't need them. Do you see what I mean? Do you see why I hate this word painful? May 21, Kim rated it liked it. This book pretty much picks up where Fear of Flying ended. A continuation of Isadora's story. I enjoyed it but definitely suggest you read FoF first if you haven't already. My edition of the book had a nice little afterword from Jong about her reactions to re-reading this story, some 30 years after writing it.
It may be my favorite part of the book, actually. Even if the portrait is vitriolic, even if the pen is sh This book pretty much picks up where Fear of Flying ended. Even if the portrait is vitriolic, even if the pen is sharpened with old grudges, there has to have been love somewhere along the line, or the sheer, brute energy of pushing that pen across the page will not be there. And writing takes energy - more energy than you ever think you have. And energy comes from love. They would not immediately start fornicating in the streets and killing each other promiscuously.
Not at all. But they would have to face the responsibility for their own happiness or unhappiness. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more. View all 3 comments. Before I met with Book Club the other week, I'd have given this one star.
But talking it over and realizing that Jong and this novel are, without question, a product of their political context made me realize that it has merit as a piece of history if not as a successful piece of fiction or of writing in general. Why did I find it unsuccessful, you ask? Because the narrator is a whining, pretentious, and wholly unlikable specimen of a human being and of a woman.
I am, even after talking to the Before I met with Book Club the other week, I'd have given this one star. I am, even after talking to the BC, irritated that she is even in part representative of an era of women's literature. I've never read the word "cunt" so much and after the first fifty times it kind of loses its shock factor. And then it just sounds dumb. And like Jong is trying way, way, way, way too hard.
Why else didn't I like it? Oh, because the plot is non-existent and although the protagonist seems to feel that there is a lot at stake, to me there didn't seem to be anything. She doesn't change or evolve as a character and I found the entire trial pretty dull. But the BC girls say to read Fear of Flying first to lay the groundwork for the marital relationship at the heart of this book. So do that, and then read this one at your own risk. Mar 23, John rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. I recently bought this book in paperback with fancy color cover after a decade of borrowing from my writing mentor the hardback with a black and white dust jacket.
The book is a straight forward tale about a woman who finally decides to recognize that her marriage has failed, that her husband is a bad fuck and a lousy person, and that only she can decide what she wants to do, or as LouEllen aka Eddie, paraphrases and says to me, "Get off the razor blade and stop cutting your pretty cunt. It was a manual of sorts for me and certainly helped guide me to making swifter decisions that have always been dead on since. Never again will I sit on the razorblade cutting my pretty- It's a more interesting read than Fear of Flying, which I find a little dull.
Given the erection Fruits and Vegetables gave me when I first read those poems, this was reassured me that sex, love, marriage like writing and anything else worth pursing is trial and error and a whole lot of practice. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. I put this book aside to read some book club reads, and I really had to force myself to finish. Once I got out of the swing I had trouble getting back into Isadore's head. I planned to read "Fear of Flying" which is apparently a pre-cursor to this book, but I don't think I'll waste my time. This book has lots of needless swearing, cr I put this book aside to read some book club reads, and I really had to force myself to finish. This book has lots of needless swearing, crude sex talk, and a few too many chapters of the main character blaming her boring, controlling husband for "forcing" her into repeatedly cheating on him.
I realize I'm too young to have experienced the bra-burning-let's-shatter-the-glass-ceiling-sisterhood-feminism revolution, but in what world is it someone else's fault that you can't "keep it in your pants" so to speak? Then, upon confirmation she already knew, but was in denial that her husband cheated on her, Isadore is PISSED and wants us to pity her self-imposed victim status. Sorry, babe.
Not in this girl's lifetime. Shelves: realistic , adult. During: I don't really know what to think about this book [as I'm reading it]. It's vivd, and kind of morbid.
The woman is trying to 'save her own life' starting with leaving her husband, which she thoroughly retells, event for event. Some parts are depressing, others are funny. Definitely adult content all around. After: Okay, this book was like one half porno, one half self help book Sometimes it just felt really demoralizing, other times it was really interesting.
When the main character st During: I don't really know what to think about this book [as I'm reading it]. Anyway, I'm not sure, but I think the epilogue just kind of ruined the entire book The whole thing was kind of a drag. The poems at the the end were nice, it just sucks that I can't really read them to anyone, considering they're somewhat pornographic. Oct 15, Jana rated it it was ok Shelves: fiction. In French, when you want to address an elder you will use 'vous', which grammatically is the same as when you are addressing second-person plural.
We use 'vi' as a respect and as second person plural, and 'ti' for second person singular. What am I trying to say? We were eyeing each other, we were aware of each other but we kept our distance and showed only our greatest politeness and manners. And that is perfectly fine and enough. Feb 25, Lesley rated it it was ok. Loved the title--obviously. Great 70's feminist awakening type stuff..
I don't care if she stays with her husband or not Jan 16, Melissa rated it really liked it. I've been wanting to read Erica Jong for a long time. I've read a few of her short stories, mostly in anthologies of erotic literature. Her writing feels so honest.
It felt more like reading a friend's diary than a novel. I know that she fictionalized a lot even though much of it was based on her own life. It's a 32 year old woman's story of how she eventually came to leave her husband of 9 years. Her honesty and willingness I've been wanting to read Erica Jong for a long time.
Her honesty and willingness to put so much of herself out there, including her sexuality, reminded me a lot of Alexis's writing. Feb 18, Kristen rated it it was ok. The sequel to Fear of Flying, this is a barely fictionalized telling of the author's decision to leave her husband of eight years in the sex-happy '70s. In it she demonizes him and rationalizes herself and visits her friends to complain and have sex and generally comes off as immature and hypocritical.
The writing is first-drafty and unremarkable; she mostly seems like a talkative type who types. Still, it's entertaining in the way reading through someone's diary could be, the scenes are lively, The sequel to Fear of Flying, this is a barely fictionalized telling of the author's decision to leave her husband of eight years in the sex-happy '70s. Still, it's entertaining in the way reading through someone's diary could be, the scenes are lively, and somehow it's hard to put down until you finish it, even when your eyes are rolling.
Mar 15, Heather rated it it was amazing. I can't get enough of Erica Jong. It surprises me sometimes that this was written in the 70's and yet I feel she touches something inside of me several decades later.
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I particularly appreciated this book more than fear of flying, because as she says so herself, she takes a much more optimistic approach at love, an idea she might have turned me onto. Much like listening to your narcissistic friend complain about her miserable relationship until you want to yell "Just leave already! Oct 12, Andrew rated it liked it. I read 'fear of flying ' a few years back now chancing upon it in a charity shop for a small sum of money I think years of growing up and seeing book club warnings of it being for adults only kind of led me to believe this The relevance of the above is due to this I read 'fear of flying ' a few years back now chancing upon it in a charity shop for a small sum of money The relevance of the above is due to this book being a continuation of episodes featuring the main character Isadora Wing Isadora seems in a darker place this time around in a lifeless marriage and surrounded by folks who either want a piece of her success or sycophants who don't seem to understand her book..
All told however I would read more episodes or books by Erica Jong they have their worth and at times to me recalled Henry Miller. Aug 05, Liz Shine rated it liked it. There are things about this book I loved and things I didn't. Fear of Flying was a huge influence on me when I first came across it at I had a conservative upbringing, so the bold, open sexuality and wit of the main character blew my mind.
This book had that too, but to be in Isadora Wing's head at this point in my life was a different experience. She's something of an unreliable narrator with her inflated sense of self and her liberated, but not liberated ways. In the end she really just wa There are things about this book I loved and things I didn't.
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In the end she really just wants a man to dominate and conquer her. Erica Jong has a strong, brave writing style that's embellished with just enough prose to remind you she was a poet before becoming a renowned novelist. I especially recommend this to women or anyone who's ever been in a relationship. Dec 16, Jennifer rated it liked it. For those that said "Fear of Flying" was taboo or saturated with sex didn't end up reading "How to save your own life" once that was published.
The beloved character of Isadora Wing is now famous, still in a loveless, debilitating marriage with decent if not really good sex with her husband Bennett whom she returned to at the end of "Flying". Isadora finds out that Bennett had a long term affair before she ever began her sexual exploitations with other men and hates him throughout the whole novel for it.
She repeats on at least three occasions how she's gotten there, how much she regrets staying with him and feels such a fool for thinking herself the sole adulterer in their marriage to find that her zipless fucks couldn't compare to the emotion her husband shared with another woman and refused to provide to her.
While the female mind does go on such tangents and tends to replay scenes and thoughts over and over and over again in a novel once or twice is enough. And our "heroine" repeating the same diatribe of being confused for her overtly sexual character Candida yet finding the fame most writers want, being surrounded by supportive people, having artistic cliques both rich and poor, always having someone to screw two Jeffrey's; a cold-hearted latching lesbian student, Rosanna; to name a few leads you to wonder "Why the hell doesn't she just up and leave?
In the Afterword Jong admits that some of Isadora is based on herself no duh and that she looks upon the character now wanting to save her from herself and all her bad choices endless screwing perhaps, whining and staying in a stifling marriage just because she's allowed to write per se?
Who knows? I would've left it at that as Jong wrote that in this novel Isadora and Josh are in love forever, rather than adding on another book in the chaotic life of Isadora Wing mind you they tag which books are "Isadora Wing novels" on each reprinted cover where she goes through motherhood and a harsh divorce.
Sometimes iconic characters should just be left in that suspended state of happiness, whether or not it does go with the narrative of real life. Lord knows all the sex Isadora was having didn't ring true that much for me, though self-destructiveness does. Plus, it WAS the s. Jul 12, Sharyl rated it it was amazing.
I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel--I wasn't expecting it to be so timeless and relevant. Sure, it is dated, but not in ways that are important. Jong uses some wonderful quotes and provides plenty of insight and food for thought.