As much as Jane was profoundly affected by her mother's death, it is clear that her father was always the more influential of the two in her life, even when Frances was still alive. Jane wanted desperately to emulate him, and by all accounts she has succeeded, although she doesn't seem to see that for herself. Like her dad, family is extremely important to her, but also like him, she rarely can find the time or energy to actually spend time with them.
Bosworth dutifully chronicles Fonda's recurring laments since childhood that she couldn't get her father's attention, or that she never got an emotional enough reaction from him in the form of compliments or hugs or words. Even when he praises her in print it isn't enough — he didn't do it to her face. It doesn't seem to matter to Jane that he cried for her — he didn't do it it front of her, he didn't act it out for her.
Roger Vadim directing Jane in Barbarella
Paradoxically, Jane has only weak excuses when trying to explain why she was able to leave her baby daughter Vanessa with father Roger Vadim to drive across the United States to participate in the anti-(Vietnam) war movement. It is clear from quotes later in the book that Vanessa was raised primarily by her father — she even called him "maman," and has never completely forgiven her mother for her desertion. These are precisely the same issues Jane had with her own mother — Frances ignored her and lavished attention on "preferred" son Peter while she hopelessly and fruitlessly tried to attract attention and approval from husband Henry.
Jane closely resembled her father, in personality and physicality. Her long-term bulimia was both a product of her Hollywood existence and her desire to look more like him. She has assumed a more traditionally male role in her life — she was away from home a lot, relegating the raising of her kids to others, finally wanting to reconnect with family in her 60s, when her many careers were on the back-burner.
On the surface her story reads like the evolution of a feminist, and Jane did live through the beginnings of that movement. But of all the political causes she has leant her voice to, she never really fully committed to feminism, probably because she realized that she wasn't completely walking the walk. As independent as she was, there was always a man in her life that she was trying to impress or help. She's the embodiment of the modern female paradox — wanting to support and nurture, but also wanting to be in charge, independent.