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The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing Paperback – May 1, 2000
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“Charming and funny.”
—The New York Times
“As hilarious as Girls’ Guide is, there’s a wise, serious core here.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A sexy, pour-your-heart-out, champagne tingle of a read—thoughtful, wise, and tell-all honest. Bank’s is a voice that you’ll remember for years to come.”
“Believe the hype: Jane’s touching (but unsentimental) career and love trials ring true.”
“Bank writes like John Cheever, but funnier.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Melissa Bank accomplishes that hardest of simple things: She shows life as it is—and makes it readable.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Writing literature that mixes comedy and tragedy in the proper amounts is not an easy task. Only a handful of contemporary writers (Joseph Heller, Ann Tyler, and John Irving come to mind) can do it with any success. Whether dealing with serious issues or mundane, Bank proves that she has what it takes to stand in such august company.”
—The Denver Post
“Crafted by a gifted writer, a descendant from the school of restraint whose grandfather is Hemingway and whose father is the early Raymond Carver. The presiding mother figure is Lily Tomlin.”
—The News and Observer
“Only a few authors have successfully blended the compressed nature of short prose with the novel’s greater panorama of character. Melissa Bank brings similar energy and style to her new book.”
“I read the first chapter and thought, ‘Wait, I know this girl.’ By the second, I realized she was my friend. She did all the things that good friends do: she made me laugh, she made me weep, and when I closed the book at the end of the day, I knew I’d never forget her.”
—Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being and My Year of Meats
“Courageous and wise, as heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny as only the most deeply true fiction can be. Melissa Bank writes with a fine eye, a clean voice, and a generous heart.”
—Pam Houston, bestselling author of Sight Hound and Cowboys are My Weakness
“A compassionate comedy of manners, pitch-perfect . . . Bank’s people are fully realized and, just like us, fond, foolish, blind, and wise by turns and in ways both tenderly familiar and refreshingly odd.”
—Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us
About the Author
Melissa Bank is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, and Zoetrope, among other publications, and has been heard on National Public Radio and featured at Symphony Space in New York City. Bank holds an MFA from Cornell University and is the winner of a Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. She divides her time between New York City and East Hampton.
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The second-person-voiced chapter on overcoming breast cancer was over my head as a teenager, never having experienced any health problems of my own. I was mostly struck by the unusual shift in narration. Someone who has been through an experience like that will find it incredibly meaningful - and familiar. "Too late, you realize that your body was perfect - every healthy body is."
October 7, 2004
THE GIRLS GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING is not a novel. It's a series of stories (some that had been published previously) centering on Jane Rosenal, starting from the age of fourteen through middle age. Each story reveals something different about her, puts her in different situations, and in nearly every single story, it is told with a lot of wit and sassy humor. I found myself chuckling through some of the earlier stories, and found myself empathizing with her in another story (about her father dying from cancer).
I don't know of any other way to describe this "novel". It isn't a novel and so there was no climax or high point at the end of the last chapter. However, I did feel a sense of "ending" with that last story, feeling that maybe Jane had finally found someone that she may love for the rest of her life, or maybe as she said "We are just two mayflies mating on a summer night". Very profound.
My overall feeling about this "book" is that I loved it, mainly because it is not what I had expected. With a title such as THE GIRLS GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING, I expected a tale centering on a teenage girl living in Wisconsin, for instance. What I did not expect was a coming-of-age series of short stories, chronicling the life of one woman from New England, along with her desires, thoughts, and opinions. I found it unique and it kept my attention throughout the entire book.
The middle story, which many readers have questioned, bothers me as well. But, from what I feel after reading this book, it was just a "lull", a transition story, in which Jane had moved into her deceased aunt's apartment, and it signified a big change in her life (her starting her relationship with her aunt's friend Archie). It was a rather weird blip in this series of stories, and that is only my guess as to why it appeared in the book. Other than that, I have no real complaints about THE GIRLS GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING. With that said, I don't think this is a book that any reader can enjoy. One needs to be in a certain frame of mind, and come to the book not expecting anything in particular, or you may be disappointed.