Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir

Front Cover
HarperPerennial, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 366 pages
A publishing event, a real-life novel, "Fear of Fifty" is the true story of the woman who 20 years ago showed her generation how to soar in "Fear of Flying" and now looks back -- and ahead -- to assess the costs, the rewards and the meaning of the journey.

Opening on her fiftieth birthday, Jong's midlife memoir reads like fast-paced fiction as it flashes back and forth in time to tell at last the truths at the heart of her novels. Poet, novelist, essayist, Jong has forged one of the most visible and volatile careers in American letters, and as a charter member of what she calls the "whiplash generation, " she has had a front seat on the roller coaster American women have been riding for the past decades. Raised to be Doris Day, growing up wanting to be Gloria Steinem, now rearing daughters in the age of Princess Di and Madonna, today's women have had their expectations raised and dashed and raised and dashed again, as they've watched themselves go in and out of style like hemlines. Now, as she and her contemporaries look for answers to the second half of their lives, Jong offers powerful, provocative insights into sex, marriage and aging; feminism -- past, present and future; the writing life; motherhood and family; identity and love, loyalty and loss, drawn through the brilliant prism of her own experience.

In chapters such as "Fear of Fifty, " "The Mad Lesbian in the Attic, " "How I Got to Be the Second Sex, " "How I Got to Be Jewish, " "Fear of Fame, " "Seducing the Muse, " "Dona Juana Gets Smart, " "Becoming Venetian" and "How to Get Married, "

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LARA335 - LibraryThing

I read Fear of Flying when it came out, so can't remember it save for the 'zipless fuck' phrase and that I enjoyed it, a breath of fresh air. So I was intrigued by the 'Fear of Fifty' title. It turned ... Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

A half-century under her belt has not staled Jong's passion nor has painful controversy withered her talent for unflinching observation. This memoir is Jong's (The Devil at Large, 1993) meditation on ... Read full review


Fear of Fifty
How My Parents Were and All That David
Copperfield Kind of Crap

16 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

Erica Jong was born on March 26, 1942. She received a B.A. from Barnard College and a M.A. in 18th Century English Literature from Columbia University. She also attended Columbia University's graduate writing program where she studied poetry. She has written numerous volumes of poetry, novels, and non-fiction works including Fruits and Vegetables, Fear of Flying, How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, Sappho's Leap, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, and It Was Eight Years Ago Today (But It Seems Like Eighty). She has received numerous awards including the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature, Poetry magazine's Bess Hokin Prize, the Deauville Award for Literary, and the Sigmund Freud Award for Literature.

Bibliographic information