Review: Fear of Dying by Erica Jong

Fear of Dying by Erica Jong
Series: Isadora Wing (# 4)
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 288
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review



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 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.


Review: Written in first person dialog, I felt like I was reading someone’s personal diary. It was at times amusing and at others sad but it always felt true, as if Vanessa Wonderman is a real person that exists somewhere.

As a teenager in the 70’s, I remember all the hype over Fear of Flying but never did read it myself. I’m now in my 50’s and, let’s face it, times have changed since Fear of Flying emerged with such sensationalism. We’ve surpassed zipless and are now emerging into Grey territory. As such, Fear of Dying is not an erotic tale but an honest and emotional journey of life after 60 by a woman trying to put the zing back into her monotonous life.

Vanessa is a former actress who feels like life passed her by somewhere along the line. Her parents are old and sick, her daughter is grown up and having a baby and her sex life has been less than satisfactory. In fact, it’s been non-existent so she goes online to try and meet someone for a “zipless” fling

I found this to be a wonderful story about a woman searching for something that may or may not be out there. I think most women our age are going through that, have been through that, or will go through that shortly. Fear of Dying is ChickLit at it’s finest hour.