[Review] The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Bank

Title of Book: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Author: Melissa Bank
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Year: 2000
Language: English
Format: paperback
Pages: 274

Hailed by critics as the debut of a major literary voice, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing has captivated readers and dominated bestseller lists. Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, it maps the progress of Jane Rosenal as she sets out on a personal and spirited expedition through the perilous terrain of sex, love, relationships, and the treacherous waters of the workplace. With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out universal issues, puts a clever, new spin on the mating dance, and captures in perfect pitch what it's like to be a young woman coming of age in America today.

I personally wouldn’t identify this book as chicklit and I disagree if this book is being compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary. Not that I dislike chicklit and Bridget Jones. But I believe that this book is not a fluffy contemporary about a city woman in her thirties. It’s a coming of age story of a girl named Jane. She’s an ordinary girl who learns about relationship first from her brother’s relationships and makes some dating mistakes here and there. Sometimes she’s snappish, but she’s also funny. In fact, being funny is one of her qualities that she’s proud of.
Although this book is not traditionally written as a full novel about Jane’s life, I’d still say that this book is mainly revolves around Jane Rosenal. The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing is actually a collection of short stories. This book has seven short stories and five of them centers on Jane’s life. Each of those five stories tells different stages of Jane’s life. It starts with Jane’s teenage life when she learns how relationship works by observing her brother’s dating life. Then we follow her story as she works in the publishing world and begins dating. There’s a time in her life where she dates a man 28 years older than her. Some might find this creepy or weird. But this part of the book is what I find most interesting. Because this is where Jane grows and learns a lot about her life or her career. I found the way she handles her relationship with this man funny and comical.
“You don’t want to be late, honey.”
“It tells the people you care about that they can’t count on you.”
From all of the short stories in the book, the main title of this book is my favorite story. The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing is an awkwardly funny and relatable story. It’s a story about Jane trying to find a new guy to date. Since she feels that she always fails in dating a new guy, she decides to follow tips from a self-help book on dating advice. We know how that was like, being nervous on your date and wondering whether or not you make wrong impression or trying to figure out a way to keep your date interested. Those normal and relatable dilemmas are the main focus in this story. This story reminds me of Ally McBeal a lot. While Jane reads and follows the tips from the self-help book, she imagines the authors of the book are with her. She imagines that the two authors are following her and giving her advice on whether to establish eye contact or not; or how to start a conversation with your date.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. Though I’m a little bothered by two short stories that apparently Jane-less. I love reading about Jane, so I kind of want to read more about her. I also like Bank’s writing. She rarely writes long paragraph which makes it easy to read. At least for me it is. I’d recommend The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing for those who want to read a coming of age story about the discovery of love.

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