From the author of the debut novel Normal Girl (2000): shallow, neurotic, very funny essays that continue to milk the writer’s relations to famous mother Erica Jong and grandfather Howard Fast.
“I knew I was going to have to prostitute this experience,” Jong-Fast acknowledges by way of mock apology for dishing the dirt on the famous people she encounters during her years of growing up, “and pretty much everything else that’s ever happened to me.” Straightaway, she dispenses with niceties: she loves lying, is “mildly maladjusted,” greedy for publicity, “somewhat self-obsessed,” and shamelessly devoted to name-dropping, especially dropping her own family’s names if that can win her food or flattery. When she first meets the new girl and future supermodel Sophie Dahl at the tony Manhattan Day School, her opening line is “Do you know who my mom is?” Some of the sacred cows Jong-Fast relishes butchering include her grandfather Howie (a novelist jailed in the ’50s for refusing to name names before HUAC; now, in his eighties, he’s marrying his forty-year-old secretary—“The bride wore a white suit. The groom wore Depends”); the various unsavory boyfriends of her mother, the so-called Queen of Erotica; the shrinks her mother employed to help the husky Molly slim down; and family friend Joan Collins, who commits the horrific faux pas of announcing that thirteen-year-old Molly was “too fat to go on Valentino’s yacht,” thus ensuring ten more years of therapy. Jong-Fast is sarcastic but not stupid, and she wields an acid pen—the “muumuu-wearing fascist” psychiatrist to the stars who helps her lose weight is dubbed “Adolf Hitler,” and one in the succession of dubious secretaries for her mom at their home on East 94th Street is “Marie Osmond,” for her “incredible value system.”
Jong-Fast is the Joan Rivers for slackers: she delights in pushing the boundaries of libel only to retreat, all in the spirit of good clean fun. After all, what else does she have to write about?