Laura Zigman's literary skirmish in the ongoing battle of the sexes is based on a singularly unoriginal observation: the tendency of human males to love 'em and leave 'em, uh, apes the behavior of nearly every other male animal on Earth. If bulls refuse to mate with an "Old Cow," why should women be surprised when they're thrown over? The veracity of this (sexist? sure!) idea aside, Zigman tells the story of jilted Jane Goodall wittily and winningly. Any excess of feminine venom is offset by the suspicion that Zigman is speaking from painful experience. And if she's not, it's a testament to the effectiveness of Animal Husbandry
that it's so easy to think so. Here's a taste:
In the metamorphosis from Cow to New Cow, the Current-Cow sob story is an important phase: "I know we just met, but did I happen to mention how sad, miserable, misunderstood, and lonely I've been my whole life?" Animal Husbandry
This is crucial to introducing the myth of male shyness and the poor-guy persona--common disguises for a wolf in sheep's clothing. "You're so easy to talk to, not like my Current Cow."
is likely to be a good, cathartic read for anyone who's been dumped (and who hasn't?). Obviously, male readers will require a thick skin--or at least a sense of humor. But even the most sensitive males will recognize the grain of truth that creates this pearl of break-up literature.
From Library Journal
Jane Goodall, not the anthropologist, but rather a bright, thirtysomething Manhattan talk-show producer who is no novice to romance, staggers under the weight of being cruelly, inexplicably dumped by Ray, the man of her dreams. Nearly paralyzed by this betrayal, she becomes a self-appointed amateur scientist, studying the mating habits of the animal kingdom to make sense of her senseless human world. Jane's best friends, magazine executive Joan and David, a gay freelance fashion photographer, commiserate, having been dumped by any number of perfect men themselves. Jane's hilarious, poignant observations lead her to her New Cow/Old Cow theory as observed in the bovine population?as soon as a fledgling love interest (New Cow) becomes a familiar and known quantity, she is relegated to Old Cow status, and the hunt is on for fresh bait. Jane is able to parlay her wildlife studies into a hugely successful (if short-lived) magazine column. Readers will find themselves racing through this novel for each insight and may well close the cover, sighing in relief, "Whew, it's not just me." Highly recommended.-?Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., Mich.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.