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


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



"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

Banks's debut short story collection about the mixed-up dating life of Jane Rosenal was a hit on the beach-reading circuit this summer. Hearing the author's conviction while she reads her work proves why: there is an uncanny likeness between the writer and her feisty-but-neurotic heroine. Banks plays up this mood by narrating in a quiet, seductive voiceÄone that nonetheless manages to convey a sense of sustained desperation. The episodes move chronologically, starting with Jane's girl's-eye view of her older brother, Henry, in bumbling action as he dates an older, more sophisticated woman. At age 16, Jane moves in with a great-aunt in her Manhattan apartment, then sees the world through her host's jaded eyes. Later, as a lowly assistant in publishing, she is seduced by an older editor, a super-macho alcoholic who suffers impotence. Banks's gifts of distanced objectivityÄas author and readerÄdovetail here with stylish panache. Based on the 1999 Viking hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After Bridget Jones, expect lots on being single. This one by a Nelson Algren Award winner features reluctant career girl Jane, who's reading the wrong selfhelp guide to getting married. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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