Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Bank

The Girls Guide To Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Bank
Release Date: May 1, 2000
Age Group/Genre: Chick Lit
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 274
Source: Purchased at GoodWill

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Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, 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 and relationships as well as the treacherous waters of the workplace.  With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out issues of the heart, puts a 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.

First Sentence: 
"My brother's first serious girlfriend was eight years older -- twenty-eight to his twenty."

My Review:
I really wanted to love this book.  I read The Wonder Spot and really liked it, however this book was just not for me.  I'm a sucker for second chances, so I repeatedly tried to get through this (and finally I did).
I thought that the writing style was extremely awkward.  There weren't really chapters, it was more like little scenes.  Typically that would have been fine, but I didn't feel like the scenes flowed properly.  Overall it just felt like I was jumping from one part of Jane's life to the next without really knowing what to expect.  Much of the time I felt like I would read a part of it and then forget why it was important.
I was extremely annoyed with Jane throughout the book.  I know that it is typical for women to fall in love with the same types of guys over and over again, but it seemed like the choices she was making were just so depressing.  I was getting sad just reading about her falling in love with stupid alcoholics over and over again.  Then, if there was a lighter, funny part I didn't find it all that funny because I was still sad about her constantly being hurt.
It really drove me crazy that many of the people Jane surrounded herself with told her how "ordinary" she was, and that she wasn't, nor would she ever be, beautiful.  The character I see in my head is beautiful, she just makes some dumb decisions.
While I struggled through most of the book, I really enjoyed the last bit.  If the rest of the book could have been written the same way I think I would have loved the whole thing.  Bonnie and Faith cracked me up!  While that whole thing is a little weird (because suddenly Jane is seeing/hearing people...) I think it is what lifted me out of the deep depression I felt during the rest of the book.
A lot of the reviews that I read hailed this book as "the book that started the chick-lit genre", but I don't feel that at all.  I would categorize this as the book that started the depressing genre.

Some Great Quotes
"While home is the place where you can relax and be yourself, this doesn't mean that you can take advantage of the love and affection other members of your family have for you. - From 20th Century Typewriting by D.D. Lessenberry, T. James Crawford and Lawrence W. Erickson"

"He tells me that the best man I will ever find will be attracted to other women."
"Keep a calm atmosphere and children won't worry. - From The Sailor's Handbook Edited by Halsey C. Herreshoff"

So tired.
If late,
Get fired.
Why bother?
Why the pain?
Just go home.
Do it again."

"A Girl Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.  It's easy to be clean on the outside.  All you need is soap and water and a scrubbing brush.  It's harder to be clean on the inside. - From Junior Girl Scout Handbook"

"You can feel how much he loves you.  For a second, you think maybe if he can just hold on to you like this, he'll keep you from falling off the earth, out of this life."

"Making jokes is your way of saying Do you love me? and when someone laughs you think they've said yes."

"I am a truthball in search of a goof."

Likes: The very last section of the book.
Dislikes: The fact that the whole time I just felt sad.
Favorite Characters: Bonnie & Faith
Least Favorite Character: Archie
Cover: 3/5 - not sure how it relates to the story...
Characters: 2/5 - most of them just got on my nerves
Writing Style: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Ending: 4/5

Happy Reading!

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