Cover image for The girls' guide to hunting and fishing
Title:
The girls' guide to hunting and fishing
Author:
Bank, Melissa.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
274 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780670883004
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing 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. What is love, she wonders, as she scrutinizes the wiles and ways of older, possibly wiser women; casts a questioning eye toward various species of couples; and holds out her wrists for a spritz of perfume from her beautiful boss ... How do you find it (and keep it) - and above all, who makes the rules?" "In the throes of a budding romance, Jane repairs to the self-help shelves to take a sojourn with authors Bouncy Bonnie and Blown-Dry Faith, who whisper in her ear and tell her what the rules are - in their terms. "Wear your hair long ... Don't say 'I love you' first ... Don't accept a date less than four days in advance ..." and above all, "Don't be funny! ... Men like femininity," Faith says, crossing her legs. "Humor isn't feminine ..."" "When she is swept off her feet by an older man and into a Fitzgeraldesque world of cocktail parties, country houses, and rules-that-were-made-to-be-broken, Jane learns what it means when her lover says he wants "to everything" with her, and the stakes become far too high." "A floating house in St. Croix (after a soul-stripping game of strip poker) has its own lesson to teach, as do a couple of sexy, come-and-go boyfriends, a drama around a Greenwich Village kitchen table, and a never-ending bloop-yatty-bloop wedding reception. Finally, when Jane has gone in all the wrong directions (but for all the right reasons), she learns not only when to fish and when to cut bait, but who really makes the rules."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Author Notes

Melissa Bank won the 1993 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. She has published stories in the Chicago Tribune, including Zoetrope, The North American Review, and Other Voices and Ascent. Her work has also been heard on "Selected Shorts" on National Public Radio. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and divides her time between New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Jane, the precocious teenager of this novel, easily recognizes the difference between summers in Nantucket and those on a greasy canal on the South Jersey shore, where her family is now relegated. Figuring out the mysteries of love is harder, as Jane closely follows her older brother's affair with an older woman. When that romance ends, Jane understands love even less. As an adult, Jane steps in and out of love's minefields without grasping how to avoid them. A bizarre trip with her lover, Jamie, and his ex-girlfriend and her new husband clarifies the pitfalls in that relationship. She dumps Jamie for the much older alcoholic editor Archie. Their on-again, off-again affair takes her through the traumas of her father's death and a less than stellar stint in book publishing. After she frees herself from both the dependent Archie and her noncareer, Jane decides to explore love yet again. This time, not trusting her own wisdom, she picks up a guidebook, How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right. The book's authors, Faith and Bonnie, view men as fish that first have to be lured with bait and then reeled in. They say such things as, "Don't be negative" and "Let him pay." She meets (or baits) Robert at a wedding, where she catches the well-aimed bouquet. Jane goes "by the book" and does all the "right" things with all the wrong results. (Why won't she heed her mother's advice to "just be yourself" ?) Often funny, poignant, and well sprinkled with razor-sharp wit, Jane's search for love (usually in all the wrong places) is going to be familiar to many. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)067088300XMarlene Chamberlain


Publisher's Weekly Review

This is one of those rare occasions when a highly touted book fulfills the excitement and the major money (in this case, $275,000) surrounding its acquisition. Reading her debut collection of seven tightly interlinked stories featuring (with one exception) heroine Jane Rosenal, one marvels at Bank's assured control of her material, her witty, distinctive voice and her ability to find comedy, pathos and drama in ordinary lives without resorting to the twin crutches of dysfunctional families and sexual abuse that seem to prop up much current fiction. Jane is notable above all for her smart, irreverent sense of humor, evidenced in a typical teenager's mocking attitude when we first meet her at age 14, and irrepressibly sardonic and self-deprecating as she gets older, enters and leaves relationships and progressively doubts her ability to inspire or recognize romantic love. From girlhood, Jane is bewildered by the nuances of adult behavior, which seems like a secret code evident to everyone but her: "I should know this already" is her recurrent lament. She looks for insights everywhere: in her fickle brother's succession of girlfriends, in her parents' affectionate (but, as it turns out, secretive) marital bond, in the attractions between other couples. From her childhood in a Philadelphia suburb and the Jersey shore to her adult life in Manhattan (with visits to St. Croix and upstate New York), she is always testing the limits of her understanding and tending to doubt her perceptions. Though Jane is quick with a quip, she's sensitive and vulnerable, and when she finds herself falling for a handsome editor 28 years her senior, she knows she is out of her depth. Eventually, we follow Jane through several failed love affairs; career crises in publishing (a chapter about a viperish female editor is a gem) and advertising; the wrenching deaths of loved ones; and increasing fears that she'll never learn to play the mating game. By the time readers reach the final, title story, they'll be so firmly attached to self-doubting Jane that they'll track her misguided seduction of Mr. Right with drawn breath. "Beautiful and funny and sad and true" (to quote Jane), this book is also phenomenally good. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. First serial to Cosmopolitan and Zoetrope; BOMC and QPB alternates; Penguin audio; author tour; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Holland, Norway and Denmark. (June) FYI: Bank is writing the screenplay of this book for Francis Ford Coppola and Zoetrope studios. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Bank structures her tongue-in-cheek exploration of relationships by playing off the genre of self-help guides, even including a manual called "How To Meet and Marry Mr. Right" to set her novel's climax. The book is filled with some wonderfully humorous lines and insights as our young heroine, Jane, grows up in bewilderment, lurching from one disastrous affair to another. Yet it suffers terribly from an awkward handling of dialog from the Dick & Jane school of reparteeÄ"he said, she said, I said" litter the conversations. Lorelei King's reading heightens the annoyance at the author's lack of skill. If this audio is meant as parody, Bank doesn't pull it off successfully. It might appeal mostly to female adolescents, but for others the attraction will quickly wear thin.ÄJoyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

My brother's first serious girlfriend was eight years older--twenty-eight to his twenty. Her name was Julia Cathcart, and Henry introduced her to us in early June. They drove from Manhattan down to our cottage in Loveladies, on the New Jersey shore. When his little convertible, his pet, pulled into the driveway, she was behind the wheel. My mother and I were watching from the kitchen window. I said, "He lets her drive his car." My brother and his girlfriend were dressed alike, baggy white shirts tucked into jeans, except she had a black cashmere sweater over her shoulders. She had dark eyes, high cheekbones, and beautiful skin, pale, with high coloring in her cheeks like a child with a fever. Her hair was back in a loose ponytail, tied with a piece of lace, and she wore tiny pearl earrings. I thought maybe she'd look older than Henry, but it was Henry who looked older than Henry. Standing there, he looked like a man. He'd grown a beard, for starters, and had on new wire-rim sunglasses that made him appear more like a bon vivant than a philosophy major between colleges. His hair was longer, and, not yet lightened by the sun, it was the reddish-brown color of an Irish setter. He gave me a kiss on the cheek, as though he always had. Then he roughed around with our Airedale, Atlas, while his girlfriend and mother shook hands. They were clasping fingertips, ladylike, smiling as though they were already fond of each other and just waiting for details to fill in why. Julia turned to me and said, "You must be Janie." "Most people call me Jane now," I said, making myself sound even younger. "Jane," she said, possibly in the manner of an adult trying to take a child seriously. Henry unpacked the car and loaded himself up with everything they'd brought, little bags and big ones, a string tote, and a knapsack. As he started up the driveway, his girlfriend said, "Do you have the wine, Hank?" Whoever Hank was, he had it. Except for bedrooms and the screened-in porch, our house was just one big all-purpose room, and Henry was giving her a jokey tour of it: "This is the living room," he said, gesturing to the sofa; he paused, gestured to it again and said, "This is the den." Out on the porch, she stretched her legs in front of her--Audrey Hepburn relaxing after dance class. She wore navy espadrilles. I noticed that Henry had on penny Loafers without socks, and he'd inserted a subway token in the slot where the penny belonged. Julia sipped her ice tea and asked how Loveladies got its name. We didn't know, but Henry said, "It was derived from the Indian name of the founder." Julia smiled, and asked my mother how long we'd been coming here. "This is our first year," my mother said. My father was out playing tennis, and without him present, I felt free to add a subversive, "We used to go to Nantucket." "Nantucket is lovely," Julia said. "It is lovely," my mother conceded, but went on to cite drab points in New Jersey's favor, based on its proximity to our house in Philadelphia. In the last of our New Jersey versus Nantucket debates, I'd argued, forcefully I'd thought, that Camden was even closer. I'd almost added that the trash dump was practically in walking distance, but my father had interrupted. I could tell he was angry, but he kept his voice even: we could go to the shore all year round, he said, and that would help us to be a closer family. "Not so far," I said, meaning to add levity. But my father looked at me with his eyes narrowed, like he wasn't sure I was his daughter after all. Excerpted from The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Advanced Beginnersp. 1
The Floating Housep. 45
My Old Manp. 73
The Best Possible Lightp. 105
The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imaginep. 125
You Could Be Anyonep. 205
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishingp. 223

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