Overview: Isadora Wing is a (nonpracticing) Jewish woman, married for the second time and feeling trapped. Her husband pushes her to psychotherapists whenever a fight rises between the two. She can never find true happiness and wants to be free. On a trip to Vienna, which she hates, she falls hard for a man who takes her on and adventure to find herself and her freedom.
Opinion: Is there really so much guilt in Jewish religion? I’d say a good chunk of the book is spent whining about how much Isadora hates Germany, and being paranoid of them finding out she is German. She even goes as far as to put “Unitarian” on her passport. Though I don’t think it matters as she and her family do not practice any religion, are just Jewish by way of ancestors. Maybe it’s just because it was written in the 70’s and people were still paranoid.
During the hating of Germans, we find that she is sexually frustrated and for another good chunk of the book, that seems to be the main reason she feels trapped. But then she contradicts herself and is afraid of losing her emotionless husband. It’s not until the end of the book that Isadora has a revelation of sorts and starts to become her own person.
Until the end, you don’t realize the book is about learning to get out of your own head, and live life not worrying about what comes next. Isadora travels all over Europe (though she hates traveling) with a guy she doesn’t know to figure out that worrying is pointless. Trying to find everlasting happiness in someone else is worthless if you don’t know your true self. She is chasing a dream that cannot be fulfilled, because she doesn’t truly know what she wants; instead she jumps from one guy to the next that are total opposites thinking she will find the answer.
Isadora is a spoiled woman who doesn’t realize everything she has until she spends weeks camping and driving around with a jerk and reminiscing about the past. Then after her revelations, she still doesn’t know what she wants or if she will reconcile with her husband.
I really wanted to like this book because it is one of my grandma’s favorites but I can’t. At the same time I do like it because I can see a bit of myself in the main character. Maybe that is also why I can’t love it, because I hate myself about as much as Isadora hates herself. I don’t have the guts to go off and do what she did, but I also don’t see the point of gallivanting around Europe just to learn something if know for years. I view it as a wasted trip as there was more drinking and driving then sightseeing and learning.
Recommend: Not sure.