Book Review: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Melissa Bank

Penguin Books

304 pages

Jane Rosenal is an urban girl learning all she can about love and growing up.  The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing starts off the summer of her fourteenth year when Jane is staying at her parent’s summer house and watching her older brother’s attempt at love.  From there, the book is broken up into short stories dealing with different time in Jane’s life.  The majority of the book deals with her relationship with an older man who is a well known editor.  Their May- December romance (that’s how the saying goes, right?) has a lot of turmoil, mostly due to the boyfriend’s egregious use of alcohol.

This book was highly lauded when it came out just over a decade ago, so I had high hopes.  I love a good coming of age story.  Unfortunately, I was let down.  I had a hard time connecting with Jane and the format of the book didn’t help matters at all.  I hadn’t realized that I was getting short stories instead of a linear narrative, so I never found my footing with that either. There was one story in particular that seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with Jane, and it was the only one in the bunch where she wasn’t the focus, so that left me even more confused.

I’ll admit, it is harder for short stories to win me over, so this book had that going against it from the start.  Even so, I can’t say I would recommend it.

Here’s the Penguin Ink edition.  Isn’t it cool?  This is the version I wanted and had I not seen the Penguin Ink cover, I probably would have never decided to read this book!

Other Reviews:

Fingers & Prose

I received this book as a gift.

8 Responses

  1. I too was disappointed when I read this, about a million years ago. I found the separate stories distracting — I hate vignette-y novels — and I really just couldn’t stand Jane. Have you read The Monsters of Templeton? That’s another one that everyone seems to love but felt too disconnected for me to really get in to.

  2. I think I had this book and when I was home for a vacation I picked it up and started to read it… but then I had to leave before finishing and didn’t bother to bring it with me! I guess that speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

    Also, I know I watched the movie, Suburban Girl, which I think is based on this and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alec Baldwin. It was not awesome and I remember feeling uncomfortable through most of it.

  3. Wow I love that Penguin Ink edition. I’d buy that even if the overall story is a let-down.

  4. Oh wait, no fishing and hunting?

  5. I have to say I never had any interest in reading this, but I agree with you that the new cover makes me look at it differently! But based on your review, I’m thinking I won’t pick it up anyway.

  6. I remember reading this book many years ago but I don’t remember whether or not I enjoyed it. The Penguin Ink cover is amazing! It could easily be a poster.

  7. I am pretty sure I read this – in fact, I just ran over to goodreads to add to my READ list but now your synopsis does not sound familiar. oh well. Nobody is really tracking my done-read list for accuracy, are they?!

  8. I picked this one up at a used book sale years ago. When I read it I had the same reaction that you did–short stories?! Definitely made it difficult to really get into the book. I’ve never heard anyone else mention this book–the alternative cover is gorgeous!

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