Stephanie Spiro on Molly Jong-Fast

The Sex Queen’s Daughter Slashes the Social Ladder



“My book is coming out in 23 days and I can feel myself slipping into prebook insanity … not as bad as the last month of pregnancy but ….”
-Molly Jong-Fast on Twitter

Molly Jong-Fast talked about the idiosyncrasies of publishing and baby naming in New York (so many kids named “after royalty or fruit”) – among other things – when she visited the New School to discuss her upcoming book, The Social Climber’s Handbook (Villard).  When it comes to New York and the uppity Upper East Side’s – ahem – quirks, Jong-Fast is an expert. She’s the 32-year old daughter of fabled Fear of Flying author, Erica Jong, The Golden Fire novelist Jonathan Fast and granddaughter of Howard Fast, author of Spartacus.  She grew up in the city, attended NYU, and still calls the Upper East Side her home.  Jong-Fast lives uptown with her financier husband and “recovering academic,” Matt, and her three kids, “all of whom like to talk to her when she’s on the phone.”

Jong-Fast is every bit the wise and witty New Yorker, a product of her environment, a writer, mother, and hilariously engaging social media presence. Follow her on Twitter @MollyJongFast for candid musings and book teasers like this one: “”The Social Climbers Handbook – Teaser One:  no puppies or charlie sheen… #notigerblood #justfrosting #notmeth,”

Being the daughter of writing royalty has its difficulties: “it opens doors and then the doors are slammed on me,” Jong-Fast mused. When asked about her famous sex guru mom, she said that “she’s a lot of people’s influences and she would be mine too if she wasn’t my mom.”  Jong-Fast answered student questions with an endearing and self-deprecating sense of humor that both echoed and contradicted the tone of her fanciful – and farcical – book, The Social Climber’s Handbook.  “I write a book and throw it out and then I write a book based on the book I just threw out, “ Jong-Fast said when referring to her writing process.

Her new novel, like Jong-Fast herself, is quintessentially New York and very pop culture savvy.  The Upper East Side is home to The Nanny Diaries, the biting social climbers of pop cult addiction TV like Gossip Girl, the cracked and ever-present Ellis-mentality, and the cutthroat yuppie suits that have endured since the highfalutin days when the “Master of the Universe” guys nursed their martinis over big shiny business cards.  New York is the ideal place for Jong-Fast to deftly stage her cheeky and irreverent post-Bateman-esque chic-“yummy mummy” murder mayhem.  Said Jong-Fast, to the classroom, with a smile, “If I were a serial killer, this would be the greatest cover ever.”