Picks and Pans Review: Fanny

UPDATED 09/22/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/22/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Erica Jong

Fear of Flying and How to Save Your Own Life had a lot of autobiographical, liberated-female zip to them. Now Jong has written another variation on her life, in the guise of an 18th-century memoir. Jong's title figure insists Fanny Hill, the classic of pornography by John Cleland, was all lies. Erica's book is the woman's true story. "I had departed Lymeworth a mere Girl of Seventeen, my Virginity just taken...In twelve brief Months I had known Witches and Highwaymen, Whores and Hell-Fire Clubs, Intrigues and Ecstacies. I had travers'd the great Abyss that separates a Maiden from a Mother." Those events take 300 pages; later Fanny becomes a sailor, a pirate, a celebrated writer, finds love and inherits a fortune. She's full of observations that are mean, funny and tinged with truth: "But I have ne'er been in a Chamber with a Lawyer when I did not wish either to scream with Desperation or else to fall into the deepest of Sleeps..." Despite its length, pseudo-antique language and distracting capitalizations, Fanny is absolutely charming. (NAL, $12.95)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters