How to Save Your Own Life

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How to Save Your Own Life (1977) by Erica Jong

This novel continues the story of Isadora Wing, a character from the novel Fear Of Flying, 3 years after what happened in the first novel.


  • I convinced myself that sadness and compromise were the ways of the world...
  • Having a baby with him meant marrying that face forever.
  • All people believe their suffering is greater than others.
  • Humor is a survival tool.
  • How could one create life with someone who represented death?
  • Inevitably, I drank too much, talked too much, smiled too hard, swallowed back too much bile.
  • My body was flesh, which was only one step removed from shit, from clay, from dust.
  • Keeping a journal implies hope.
  • The worst thing about jealousy is how low it makes you reach.
  • And what if I don't want forgiveness?
  • Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't...
  • Friends love misery... our misery is what endears us to our friends.
  • It takes a spasm of love to write a poem.
  • They all cheat sooner or later. You might as well have one who isn't a bore the rest of the time.
  • ...jealousy makes the prick grow harder. And the cunt wetter.
  • Love is love, but marriage is an investment.
  • Unhappiness is our element. We come to believe we can't function without it.
  • Without sex it would be so easy to choose appropriate people to live with. Sex was the joker in an otherwise rational deck.
  • Loving someone is a loss of freedom -- but one doesn't think of it as loss because one gains so much else.
  • There is a rhythm to the ending...
  • Many people today believe that cynicism requires courage. Actually, cynicism is the height of cowardice. It is innocence and open-heartedness that requires the true courage -- however often we are hurt as a result of it.
  • If you apologize for something that isn't your fault in the first place, you, in effect, confirm their belief that it is your fault.
  • Is perception equivalent to existence?
  • Photographs... are the most curious indicators of reality.
  • ...the ocean kept falling into itself, gathering itself up, and falling into itself again.
  • The future is merely a shadow which blocks out the joys of the present and emphasizes the miseries of the past.
  • What was the point of spending your life with someone you were always looking for ways to decieve?
  • I only know that in our choice of friends and lovers and teachers who will change our lives, we are guided by forces which have nothing to do with the rationalizations we give.


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