Summary and book reviews of The Girl's Guide To Hunting & Fishing by Melissa Bank

The Girl's Guide To Hunting & Fishing

by Melissa Bank

The Girl's Guide To Hunting & Fishing
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1999, 274 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2000, 288 pages

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Book Summary

One of the most eagerly anticipated books of the season - funny, sexy, wise fiction from the freshest new voice in women's writing.

I don't admit to myself what I'm doing when I put my bike helmet on and ride over to the bookstore a few blocks away. I pretend that maybe I'm just getting another Edith Wharton novel. But I bypass fiction and find Self-Help. I think Self-Help? If I could help myself, I wouldn't be here.

There are stacks and stacks of How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right, and I take my copy up to the counter as furtively as if it were a girdle or a vibrator ...

With a steadily growing cadre of readers who delight in her smartly comic and insightful writing, Melissa Bank is an event waiting to happen. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing explores the life lessons of Jane, the contemporary American Everywoman who combines the charm of Bridget Jones, the vulnerability of Ally McBeal, and the wit of Lorrie Moore. As she works her way from defiant teenager to reluctant career girl, growing older and getting smarter, Jane maneuvers her way through love, sex, relationships, and the occasional perils of the workplace. She reluctantly succumbs to the questionable advice offered in a pop-psych book entitled How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right.

Accompanied at every turn by the ear-whispering authors (who bear an uncanny resemblance to two popular, hateful high school acquaintances) Jane makes a series of dating decisions that lead her in the right direction -- but for the wrong reasons. Wise, poignant, and full of the kind of laugh-out-loud insight you just have to share with your best friend, Melissa Bank is the kind of writer readers have been waiting for: an original voice telling a universal story through characters we all love and recognize.

Excerpt
The Girl's Guide To Hunting & Fishing

My best friend is getting married. Her wedding is only two weeks away, and I still don't have a dress to wear. In desperation, I decide to go to Loehmann's in the Bronx. My friend Donna offers to come with me, saying she needs a bathing suit, but I know a mercy mission when I see one.

"It might be easier if you were bringing a date," Donna says in the car, on the Major Deegan Expressway. "But maybe you'll meet somebody."

When I don't answer, she says, "who was the last guy you felt like you could bring to a wedding?"

I know she's not asking a question as much as trying to broach the subject of my unsocial life. But I say, "That French guy I went out with."

"I forgot about him," she says. "What was his name again?"

"Fuckface," I say.

"That's right," she says.

* * *

At the entrance to the store, we separate and plan to meet in an hour. I'm an expert shopper, discerning fabric content by touch, identifying ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
An Introduction to The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

"I saw my life in scale: it was just my life. It was not momentous . . . I saw myself the way I'd seen the cleaning woman in the building across the street. I was just one person in one window. Nobody was watching, except me."

In The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank's crisp, witty, and revealing stories offer poignant glimpses of Jane Rosenal's spirited search for true love, self-understanding, and a fulfilling career. It is as though Bank has trained a telescope on the lit window of an adjacent apartment building, coaxing the reader to glean from the actions of its occupants the behavior patterns of East Coast urbanites.

Throughout the book there is a big-...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

... [a] charming, funny collection of seven linked fictions ...

Los Angeles Times

Bank writes like John Cheever, but funnier.

Newsweek

Captivating.

Entertainment Weekly

In this swinging, funny, and tender study of contemporary relationships, Bank refutes once and for all the popular notion of neurotic thirtysomething single women.

Kirkus Reviews

A smart, ruefully funny chronicle of a modern young woman's search for love .... Bank's debut is a model of well-crafted narrative building to a thoughtful, hopeful conclusion. Bank has created a delightful heroine who deserves her happy ending even though any reader who has really been paying attention to the sharp, unsentimental details knows that all happy endings are provisional.

Reader Reviews

Batti

The Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing
I loved reading it. I am 50 and been married for almost 30 years and yet I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's for anybody regardless of their age or situation, I believe. I cannot wait to get my hands on "The Wonder Spot".

Lauren Hanley

I find Melissa Bank's novel as comforting as a post breakup bowl of ice cream. I see alot of myself in the storys of Jane when she was younger. I too still have a lot to learn about life seeing as I am only 17. I've read the book about 23 times, ...   Read More

nora

There's no denying we've all experienced every thought, feeling, embarassment, yearning, sadness and elation that Jane has. A light, humorous and moving account of every young woman's life. If you like finishing a book with a smile on your face, ...   Read More

Julien

This book deserves much more than the 'Bridget Jones' reference - this one is a piece of art. It is written with a style (light to read but so dense in unspoken content) that belongs to American classics, and echoes far beyond the story of the young ...   Read More

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