One long ago night Allen Ginsberg stood on a Greenwich Village street corner with Jack Kerouac and roared at Norman Podhoretz, “We’ll get you through your children!” Little did the liberal rebels of the fifties, sixties, and seventies revelling in such proclamations realize what goes around really does eventually come around, as this excerpt from an Entertainment Weekly interview with novelist Molly Jong-Fast, daughter of feminist icon Erica Jong, pretty clearly illustrates:
When you were a kid, did you have any sense of how famous your mother’s books — like Fear of Flying — were?
Jong-Fast: I feel like writerly fame is a weird fame because it doesn’t necessarily translate to all people. Though there were these yenta-y women in their 60s who would be like, ”Erica Jong! You taught me about the orgasm!” It’s really terrible, as a kid. Oh, yeah. You have no idea.
Was it strange to read the sexually explicit content of her books?
Jong-Fast: I read 200 pages of Fear of Flying and was like, ”Oh, Lord, help me.” [Laughs] My mom was really of the Our Bodies, Ourselves generation. I remember I got my period for the first time and she was like, ”This is a great teachable moment.” I wanted to die.
You became a wife and mother in your mid-20s. How did your mom, who is such a feminist icon, feel about that?
Jong-Fast: I think it was hard for her, like I was saying I reject our bohemian upbringing. But I love being a mom. My mother’s generation, they felt that children might trap them, and they had to rebel. My mother didn’t have any more [kids]. When she would get mad at me, she’d say, ”I’m adopting a Chinese baby who will love me.”
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