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Megan’s Book of Divorce

Megan’s Book of Divorce: a kid’s book for adults : as told to Erica Jong
Jong
1984

Submitter: I found this amazing book at a used book store.  Not necessarily a library book, but still awesome.  I took pics of so many pages, I might as well have scanned the whole book.  There were odd things left and right. I also looked up the author, Erica Jong, on Wikipedia.  Interesting to note that she has been married 4 times, and “She has a daughter from her third marriage, Molly Jong-Fast.”  (Yes, that’s a lady.)

Some interesting things from the book that are pictured:
-the bizarre underwear scene, which is also repeated on the inside front dust jacket
-the racist undertones regarding the nanny
-the creepy shadowy “criminal” being locked up and the line about how the cop turns on the siren and flashes the lights just to speed
-Mom’s actor friend, who sleeps all the time (???)  (it mentions earlier that both parents are screenwriters…)
-“My mom takes in strays.  She is big-hearted but dumb.”
-the panic in the boyfriend’s eyes when Megan threatens that her mom will marry him
-She plays “divorce” with her friend
-“Get mom to kill Kate.”
-author bio: “Erica Jong is a writing mother.”  succinct, to the point, and slightly off-putting

Holly: Sadly, yes, this book is available in several public libraries around the country.  To honor copyright and fair use and all that, I’ll just post a few pages:

26 Responses to Megan’s Book of Divorce

  • Who are these people who live these lives? (Although I do know of Erica Jong and maybe that answers it.)

  • This fits with my perception of Erica Jong, obtained from reading her horrific book “Fear of Flying.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_Flying_(novel)

  • Is this like, Eloise for the new millenium?

  • Erica Jong wrote FEAR OF FLYING, a seminal (in more ways than one) novel about sex and relationships. It was sort of a touchstone in the mid-1970s and, for a while, Jong was everywhere–even on places like the Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin shows. Since we cannot see comments until they are moderated, I’m assuming I will not be the only woman of a certain age who remembers FEAR OF FLYING with some wry nostalgia.

  • I always imagined Erica Jong as being trendy and well-off. I feel much better knowing she couldn´t afford a real illustrator!

  • I’m interested in learning how to speak American. Is there a book written in English that will teach me how?

  • Erica Jong wrote Fear of Flying which was a huge sensation(and sparked much controversy) in the early 70s when it was released since it was very straight forward about women`s sexuality and desires. One of the first books that acknowledged women were sexual beings as much as men were.

  • Ha, this is timely given Jong’s recent article lambasting attachment parenting mothers & the backlash that resulted.

    Wow, great find!

  • erica jong wrote ‘fear of flying’…i think she was sort of like the Chelsea Handler of the early 70s. yeah.

    rich, jewish, smart, sexualized, nuts, southern CA…you get the picture.

    she’s probably still around. i could just google ‘erica jong’ couldnt i? but then…we ALL could, no?

  • as someone who lived in a predominately mexican neighborhood, i will say that they did live in a barrio, which isnt racist at all.a good deal of people tend to associate with other people of the same cultural background and race..
    but since its a book for adults, it could be sort of a satire thing? weird, nonetheless.

  • Molly Jong-Fast recently wrote a piece about her upbringing:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703805704575594213125914630.html

    as her mother criticized how she’s raising her kids:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704462704575590603553674296.html

    This book kind of explains it all, though.

  • Nannies, housekeepers, showdogs…I admit it’s entertaining, but as a helpful book for the average parent, it’s useless.

  • “A kid’s book for adults as told to Emily Jong”? Meaning? For kids or adults?

  • Erica Jong was a VERY big deal in in ’70s – she was sort of considered the “fun face of Feminism”. This book seems rather reflective of the weird turn she took in the ’80s (I can recall her writing articles both for and against Playboy).

    Quite what this book was supposed to explain is anyone’s guess, except maybe that it was SO difficult to get decent staff in 1984 (although Karin-from-Copenhagen sounds like the coolest nanny of all time).

  • I clicked on the link to read Molly Jong-Fast’s article, and the first thought I had upon seeing the photo at the top of the article was: hey, that’s the same fireplace from the ’70s Christmas book of a few posts ago…

  • Ah, submitter, if you had to look up Erica Jong, you are young indeed!

  • I’m 35, Swedish, have never bothered to read Jong – but I sure know who she is.

    I think this books seems quite interesting. But as a novel, not a helping manual or anything. Touching. I’d like to read it some time.

  • This book doesn’t seem to be much about divorce at all. “My mom has lots of dogs! I teach them stuff. I have a bunch of nannies, let me tell you about them. There’s nanny one and nanny two and nanny three! One of them is called Nurse Valium! One does yoga! Also, I don’t like divorce because I lost my underwear. Hey, let me tell you about my housekeeper. And my first nanny who took me to Harlem!” WTF? Maybe they should have called this thing “Megan’s Book of Random Stuff In Her Life”.

  • My parents divorced in ’86 and I always knew where my underpants were. I’m just saying.

  • I really enjoyed a historical fiction she did a few years ago, Sappho’s Leap. It was just as good as any Margaret George or Phillipa Gregory if you like that genre.
    And I like Fear of Flying as well. And I was born after it was published. So there! 🙂

  • I was going to say, “Good Lord and butter, people, if you’ve never heard of or read Erica Jong…” But then I remembered, I’m old.

    What I will say, though, is that in the world of wealth, the children of divorce do indeed face problems like not knowing what clothing they have in which house, who’s really taking care of them, etc. Which are better problems to have than not knowing where you’re going to get clothing or food or care at all, but still problems. And the sadness and isolation that comes with no fixed home and changeable caregivers is real.

  • Submitter must be very young to have to Google Erica J!

    Yes, that children’s book by her is extremely creepy, especially the Mad Men style black stereotype nanny. A classic case of someone unqualified to write such a book being allowed to because their name will sell, so lots of unscrupulous people in the wicked publishing industry make $$$$.

    My own favourites were Paula Yates’ (Mrs Bob Geldof) on pregnancy and bringing up small children, saying what fun it all was!

    Paula Yates died of a heroin overdose. She was alone with her youngest child in the house at the time. Her childcare advice books were withdrawn from our library…

  • Simone you beat me to it…I’m still trying to figure out the connection between divorce and missing underpants. So, does this mean that now when I lose a sock in the dryer it isn’t because there’s an inter-dimensional vortex in my Maytag but because my parents are divorced? I learn the darndest things from ALB.

  • Ummm…I’m young too I suppose, I didn’t know who this woman was…but I suppose after being married four times she has some insight into divorce!

  • Thanks, submitter, for making me feel like an Old. Erica Jong, indeed.

    I remember *shakes cane* when Jong was the hip ‘n’ bold new voice for women’s sexuality, dagnabit. Back in those days we couldn’t say the f-word without folks droppin’ in a dead faint and then comes along Erica with this whole “zipless” deal. Made quite a stir it did, what with all the trips alone through Europe and then sexin’ on trains. You young ‘uns with your Interwebs and downloads don’t know the half of it, by garn!

    Now never mind me, I’ll just shuffle off with my old vibrator I got from the women’s consciousness raising bookstore and co-op and cuddle up with that Burt Reynolds book I seen in these here parts.

  • I’m not sure why there is so much animosity towards this book. First of all, it seems to be a novel, not a how-to or self-help book, so it’s not as if she is looking to write advice to divorced parents.
    This book seems to be about a very rich and isolated kid explaining and exploring her world. personally, I want to read this book. I think it seems charming and silly while talking about a lot of deeper issues, like Lirazel said, of not knowing who is taking care of you or where your basic needs are coming from. I think that’s quite clever, actually.
    Also, the illustration style was really popular for it’s time, and I don’t think the underwear scene is at all creepy.
    And this is a privileged kid talking about her nannies- I don’t think that’s racist, I think that’s how a kid in her position would describe them and her life, like speaking American and Spanish. This is a KID talking.

    I think this is classic social satire, and shouldn’t be seen as an example of Erica Jong’s views as a divorced mother.