Fear of Dying is a hilarious, heart wrenching, and beautifully told story about what happens when one woman steps reluctantly into the afternoon of life. Vanessa Wonderman is a gorgeous former actress in her 60's who finds herself balancing between her dying parents, her aging husband and her beloved, pregnant daughter. Although Vanessa considers herself "a happily married woman," the lack of sex in her life makes her feel as if she's losing something too valuable to ignore. So she places an ad for sex on a site called Zipless.com and the life she knew begins to unravel. With the help and counsel of her best friend, Isadora Wing, Vanessa navigates the phishers and pishers, and starts to question if what she's looking for might be close at hand after all.
Fear of Dying is a daring and delightful look at what it really takes to be human and female in the 21st century. Wildly funny and searingly honest, this is a book for everyone who has ever been shaken and changed by love.
More than 40 years after the publication of the cultural touchstone Fear of Flying, Jong delivers a not-quite sequel an exploration of the emotional and sexual consciousness of Vanessa Wonderman, an actress who threw herself into the role of wife of the kind, wealthy, 20-years-older Asher when Vanessa's "acting career had gone to that place women's acting careers used to go when they neared fifty." Now sandwiched between ailing parents and a pregnant daughter, and unwilling to "retreat into serene sexlessness," Vanessa is "just unhinged enough" to place an Internet ad looking for someone to "come celebrate Eros one afternoon per week." So what makes this a sequel? The website where she posted the ad is Zipless.com, the name ripped off from her best friend Isadora Wing, who coined the term zipless to describe a certain kind of one-night encounter in the original Fear Of book. (Fear of Fifty, a memoir, was released in 1994.) With Isadora, Jong ushered in a bold new way for women to talk about their sex lives and their desire to pursue pleasure for its own sake. It's canny of Jong to tie this story back to Isadora's original quest for something like sexual fulfillment and Isadora pops up in this story to act as a wizened guide. Unfortunately, it's Vanessa who narrates this story, and while readers may be amused by Jong's trademark humor, which reads like catching up with a very chatty and revealing friend, Vanessa as a character is too self-absorbed to provoke any feeling other than relief when it's over.
A great read filled with wisdom
Jong is an immensely readable author. This book has those same wonderful qualities her other books have had and filled with wisdom. It can be taken as light fiction, or as a deep piece with many concepts to think about later. I truly enjoyed this and was sorry when it ended, but felt that I had gotten a lot from the book.
Did not enjoy
I did not enjoy this book. I thought it would b filled with wisdom for women of a certain age. There were a few sentences here and there but the rest was boring dribble. The ending made no sense whatsoever. I wanted to quit reading halfway through but I paid for it so I finished. I did not enjoy this book at all. The story was very disjointed.