The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing: Fiction (Penguin Ink) Info

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Reviews for The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing: Fiction (Penguin Ink):

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Jul 09, 2011

I couldn't believe the disconnect between the reviews of this book and its content. The New Yorker actually compares it to Bridget Jones, because, you know, all books written by women with a female protagonist in her 20s are the same. I thought this read like serious literary fiction. If a guy had written this book, he'd be called the next Salinger. If an older woman had written this book her name would be Abigail Thomas and it would be a memoir titled Safekeeping .

To be fair, I picked this I couldn't believe the disconnect between the reviews of this book and its content. The New Yorker actually compares it to Bridget Jones, because, you know, all books written by women with a female protagonist in her 20s are the same. I thought this read like serious literary fiction. If a guy had written this book, he'd be called the next Salinger. If an older woman had written this book her name would be Abigail Thomas and it would be a memoir titled Safekeeping .

To be fair, I picked this up at a thrift store while on vacation and given the chick-litty appearance of it I had low expectations. By the first few pages, I realized this was not going to be some silly dating stories. This was serious. Good serious.

The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because of the bizarre placement of the story titled "The Best Possible Light." I got all excited to jump into the future with future-Jane. Then it turns out this is a story from the first-person point of view of a once-mentioned neighbor. That'd be fine if it ever happened again in the collection, but it doesn't, which is weird. I trust that Bank is so smart she had a reason for it, but I searched for meta-clues in the text and couldn't find any.

Anyways, it didn't matter. This book was serious, lovely, beautifully written, and funny and I hope someday it gets another shot with the critics. ...more
5

Jun 29, 2007

It is a shame that Bank's prose is categorized as chick lit, because there is real weight and substance in her writing style. Perhaps she gets lumped into that fluffy genre because of her age and her contemporaries are cranking out pop fiction instead of literary fiction.

Her characters proceed with humor, but it is not cheeky or plucky. If her characters were brought to life on tv, it would be a drama, not a comedy.

Like my favorite short story collection of all time, The Nick Adams Stories, the It is a shame that Bank's prose is categorized as chick lit, because there is real weight and substance in her writing style. Perhaps she gets lumped into that fluffy genre because of her age and her contemporaries are cranking out pop fiction instead of literary fiction.

Her characters proceed with humor, but it is not cheeky or plucky. If her characters were brought to life on tv, it would be a drama, not a comedy.

Like my favorite short story collection of all time, The Nick Adams Stories, the protagonist, Jane Rosenal observes the world as a teenager through her early adulthood.

"I saw my life in scale: it was just my life. It was not momentous . . . I saw myself the way I'd seen the cleaning woman in the building across the street. I was just one person in one window. Nobody was watching, except me."

The angst is palpable and more palatable than Holden Caulfield which makes it easy to come back to read again and again lost after resolving my own teen angst. She wrote a follow up and I hope she keeps writing more. ...more
1

Feb 04, 2009

0 stars. if i wanted to spend hours hearing another female continually question her own abilities and judge herself mediocre, I could just hang out with myself.

Found in Last Word trash. A good place

Also someone edited in an extra, unrelated chapter
1

Feb 29, 2008

Based on the title, I thought that this novel would have some feminist themes, encouraging women to do things that normally men do, but instead this was a book about a series of romantic affairs, none of which were particularly engaging, memorable or unique.

After realizing that the book was about relationships, at a minimum, I had hoped Ms. Bank would shed some new light on the woman's struggle to find a male partner in modern America...Instead, I found her writing to be caddy and her plot to Based on the title, I thought that this novel would have some feminist themes, encouraging women to do things that normally men do, but instead this was a book about a series of romantic affairs, none of which were particularly engaging, memorable or unique.

After realizing that the book was about relationships, at a minimum, I had hoped Ms. Bank would shed some new light on the woman's struggle to find a male partner in modern America...Instead, I found her writing to be caddy and her plot to be shallow and somewhat reflective of a soap-opera. The first chapter was enticing, but afterwards I found the protagonist's decisions and reflections to be vexingly childish. The main character does not seem to undergo any emotional transforamtion or intellectual growth.

Furthermore, the novel lacked continuity, it seemed disorganized and left holes in the plot. Not a terribly satisfying read. Nonetheless I had to finish the book to find out who the protagonist ultimately ends up with. ...more
2

Jul 02, 2008

This book was supposed to be what started the "chick lit" genre...and I don't get it. I thought it bordered on depressing. Now in all fairness, I read it between Jen Lancaster books so....but really, it had a bleak, Russian winter feel to it. Jane's relationship with Archie, the alcoholic older man, was just so sad that I wanted to beat her for even entertaining the notion of such a self-indulgent ass in her life. There was nothing fun or uplifting or even redeeming about this story line. Based This book was supposed to be what started the "chick lit" genre...and I don't get it. I thought it bordered on depressing. Now in all fairness, I read it between Jen Lancaster books so....but really, it had a bleak, Russian winter feel to it. Jane's relationship with Archie, the alcoholic older man, was just so sad that I wanted to beat her for even entertaining the notion of such a self-indulgent ass in her life. There was nothing fun or uplifting or even redeeming about this story line. Based on the title, I thought the book would have as least some notion of a feminist "I am woman, hear me roar" theme to it but no. I'm not all about happy endings but jeez, let's not write a book enabling women to stick out a crappy, crappy relationship because the character has unexplained "daddy issues." If the author was going to go down that road, at least put up a street sign so the reader would know whether they wanted to watch the main character cruise down the freeway to self-destructionville. Okay, I am done. Read it or don't. You have been warned. ...more
1

Feb 22, 2008

Ok... I read this book a while ago. I saw it on our bookshelf and realized I had completely forgotten what it was about. I decided to re-read it... and guess what? I cannot remember what it is about. I don't think I can go for a third time. I have to say that the cover and title seduced me. Apparently, the story didn't.
1

Jun 19, 2008

This book drove me crazy. So many of my friends loved it and insisted I read it. I hated it. I thought I was missing something, so I read it again. Still hated it. Ugh.
3

Feb 14, 2009

One of my roommate's boyfriends told me that I needed to learn something about feminine mystique. He was probably right because I have never understood many things about women...like why some take so long in the bathroom, and why every time a driver is repeatedly running into the garage wall while backing out, it turns out to be a woman (why?). Sometimes I read books such as this in an effort to find feminine mystique.

Ths book is about a woman and the men she dates. The woman is on a postmodern One of my roommate's boyfriends told me that I needed to learn something about feminine mystique. He was probably right because I have never understood many things about women...like why some take so long in the bathroom, and why every time a driver is repeatedly running into the garage wall while backing out, it turns out to be a woman (why?). Sometimes I read books such as this in an effort to find feminine mystique.

Ths book is about a woman and the men she dates. The woman is on a postmodern search for a soulmate and she moves from one lover to the next.
The main problem I have with this character is that her identity is largely defined by dating and the men she is dating although her rebellion against guides to dating is an attempt at making it seem like that is not the case. This book makes me wonder if the reason some women take so long in the bathroom is because they are so lost in the search for their own identity that they can't find their way out of the bathroom stall.

The high point of this book is that it reminded me of one of my best childhood friends. The low point was that it reminded me of why we stopped being friends. ...more
4

Aug 11, 2011

It occurred to me that the quiet in the suburbs had nothing to do with peace.

I believe it is time for another identity crisis. It has been a few years. My neurosis is making farm animals out of dust clusters in this particular corner and screaming to be taken for a walk. Its time to lube up and face the fact that I might just be becoming one of those women that I want to kick in the shins with my doc martens and spit and spew snarky, inappropriate, gen xer, manifesto-esque, Jenny Holzer Truisms “It occurred to me that the quiet in the suburbs had nothing to do with peace.”

I believe it is time for another identity crisis. It has been a few years. My neurosis is making farm animals out of dust clusters in this particular corner and screaming to be taken for a walk. It’s time to lube up and face the fact that I might just be becoming one of those women that I want to kick in the shins with my doc martens and spit and spew snarky, inappropriate, gen x’er, manifesto-esque, Jenny Holzer Truisms back at their vapid expressions. Harsh? You think?

Except… I think… maybe it’s not so bad. I nod and smile at people in the village market. I balk at leaving the house after 8pm. I attend Family Fun Night at the local park. I read to the 1st graders at the elementary school. I like drinking wine on my deck. WTF? I have to doubt all my actions now. I’m losing my edge and it’s such a slippery slope into Dullsville.

Reading TGGTHAF did not numb this dark and stormy mood. I had heard from other readers that it let them down. I have learned from Papa Ingalls ‘…don't have expectations. Expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments.’ (Seriously???… Highway to Heaven, my ass….) Still, I did go in with a bad attitude.

Thing is, I really did enjoy these little stories. They made me think back to college when I was reading Lust and Self-Help: Stories and wanting so much to emulate these amazing writers. I can’t fault Melissa Bank for doing what I always wanted to. Yes, there are the familiar scenarios: first love, jealousy, cancer, parental death, yadda yadda yadda… Christ, someone somewhere really should throw out some of these formulas. Damn writing teachers! ‘Write what you know!’ That’s fine if you don’t come across as clichéd or, god forbid, boring. What I like about these stories are that they center (mostly) on the same character, Jane, so you see her growth and still get to chuckle at her snarcastism. “he tried to smile, but it was just a shape his mouth made”.

There are so many times while reading that one-liners like this stopped me and made me read them again. To me, that makes it worthy of at least 3 stars. Bank brings it to the next level by making me care about this girl and to see the fault lines before the rumble. Sure, it’s all part of the plan but it still sucked me in. “When you mention antidepressants, he looks at you as though suddenly discovering that you have the depth of a Doublemint twin.”

The second-person-singular story “You Could be Anyone” amped this up to 4 stars. I am a sucker for this narrative. I always have been. It’s overly dramatic and it brings the story right to me. I am ‘you’ and I am just fine with that.

“At Christmas-and Hanukkah-and Kwanza time you’re blue because you don’t belong to a religion, and his---psychoanalysis---doesn’t have any holidays. He makes a candelabra out of wire hangers and duct tape. He lights sparklers and wings a prayer, listing what he believes in---“The Bill of Rights,” which he recites from memory, natural-grass baseball diamonds, and your breasts.”

Yes, there are many writers out there of this genre and cynics can say that Bank is just another wet squib. But, she’s one of my wet squibs. I see us as BFFs bantering and bumbling through girly girl things while drinking port wine out of the bottle and dribbling all down our Smiths t-shirts. Give me this so I can smirk at the next Junior High Spirit Night.

The title story is also a favorite of mine. The hunt for the perfect husband. The game that must be played to attract the right guy. Jane buys the guide to finding this elusive creature and it is filled with helpful suggestions such as: “Don’t be yourself!” “Say yes to everything you’re invited to!” “Don’t say ‘I love you’ first! Wear your hair long! Don’t bring up marriage!” “Don’t accept a date less than four days in advance!” “Don’t be funny!” “Don’t be negative!” “Keep him guessing!” “Get out there!” Gah… - talk about making your skin crawl.

There is one scene that especially seizes..and hasn’t let go. Jane is discussing how she and her suitable suitor have attended a series of one-act plays by David Ives. She talks about one in particular… TIME FLIES, “where two lonely but sweet young mayflies meet at a pond and really hit it off. Unfortunately, Horace and May watch a nature program on this first night out and discover they have a lifespan of only one day—and their lives are half over.”

“Leaving the theater, Robert and I are both dazzled and exuberant, talking at once and laughing, and we spontaneously kiss. He says, “I want to mate with you and die.”

There’s that whoosh of oxytocin that I’m looking for. The thing that makes me wonder if I’ll ever grow up and see that all of this as just fiction and that the more I want to believe the more that I will be let down. That I am severely close to becoming one of these and that I will lose the irony.

Here is how the book ends (no spoiler.. not really)

“Instead of laughing, he pulls me in. We kiss, we kiss, we kiss, in front of Jezebel and all the cartoons. There is no stopping now. Both of us are hunters and prey, fishers and fish. We are the surf n’ turf special with fries and slaw. We are just two mayflies mating on a summer night.”

Fine. Whatever. I succumb.

...more
4

Apr 21, 2010

My favorite story is Advanced Beginners. I could read a whole novel about Jane at 14. Melissa Bank really has a flair for one-liners. I love when her brother asks if she read the Norwegian philosophy book he gave her, and she says, I spent about a month reading it one afternoon. I love all the little details in her stories because she doesnt beat you over the head with them. Theyre sparse and significant. You dont have to skip over long descriptions of trees and wallpaper and shit. Its all My favorite story is “Advanced Beginners.” I could read a whole novel about Jane at 14. Melissa Bank really has a flair for one-liners. I love when her brother asks if she read the Norwegian philosophy book he gave her, and she says, “I spent about a month reading it one afternoon.” I love all the little details in her stories because she doesn’t beat you over the head with them. They’re sparse and significant. You don’t have to skip over long descriptions of trees and wallpaper and shit. It’s all witty, meaningful, and interesting. “The Best Possible Light" isn't told from Jane's perspective. It's all about characters we don’t give a full shit about, so I skipped it and will pretend it doesn’t exist. Fully enjoyed “My Old Man” and once again I couldn’t stop myself from imagining Alec Baldwin as Archie (p.s. If you like this book, avoid the movie adaptation. It's horrendous). “The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imagine” is about her dad dying of cancer, so I skipped that too because Christ. “You Could Be Anyone” is funny and sharp and written in the second person, but if I’d known she was going to get breast cancer halfway through, I’d have skipped it too. There’s too much death and cancer in this book. “The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing” was fun and sweet. A nice coda to an uneven but entertaining collection. I’m rating this based on the stories I actually read. The others are dead to me. Of cancer, no doubt. ...more
5

Aug 21, 2008

This is one of those books that you fall in love with immediately. From sentence one to the very last, it's a book that sticks with you.

It's made up of short stories, snapshots of main character's life. Even though the stories were quick I felt like I got this wonderful portrait of the character Jane.

We watch her grow up and coming into herself. She reminds me of a combination of my girl friends - from junior high right on up to my current gal pals - including my female friends that are my This is one of those books that you fall in love with immediately. From sentence one to the very last, it's a book that sticks with you.

It's made up of short stories, snapshots of main character's life. Even though the stories were quick I felt like I got this wonderful portrait of the character Jane.

We watch her grow up and coming into herself. She reminds me of a combination of my girl friends - from junior high right on up to my current gal pals - including my female friends that are my senior by a couple of decades. She has self doubt, she has confidence, she knows what she wants and she doesn't. She test the waters over and over again, but not in a whiney or annoying way. She rides the waves of life with such dignity. Jane is truly all of us, every woman.

The book is written so smartly, nothing is dumbed down for the readers, nor is it pretentious. It is what it is. It's plain and simple but deep and thick as well. The characters are three dimensional, flawed but lovely as well.

I might read more "chick lit" if chick lit was written this well! ...more
2

Mar 24, 2008

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'll fustigate a structurally fantastic novel because its central theme is presented in an unbearably banal mode: The Girls' Guide embraces a worthy theme but devolves into national geographic narrative, rendering the text completely (in my opinion) degrading. The easy to follow jumps in time are clever and enthralling. However, if you want to address the dilemmas of modern, urban single women astutely, don't end the text with "We are just two mayflies mating on a summer night." Seriously. I'll fustigate a structurally fantastic novel because its central theme is presented in an unbearably banal mode: The Girls' Guide embraces a worthy theme but devolves into national geographic narrative, rendering the text completely (in my opinion) degrading. The easy to follow jumps in time are clever and enthralling. However, if you want to address the dilemmas of modern, urban single women astutely, don't end the text with "We are just two mayflies mating on a summer night." Seriously. Don't. ...more
5

Oct 18, 2013

Sometimes you read the right book at the right time in your life and it just clicks. As a single, independent woman living in the big city, I can relate with Jane's journey to find out who she is and what she wants her life to be. Some reviews I've seen call this novel the first "chick lit" of the new millennium, which is both demeaning and misogynistic, putting a book written by a woman about women in a second-class category. Sure there are stories about dating, but the men are used more to Sometimes you read the right book at the right time in your life and it just clicks. As a single, independent woman living in the big city, I can relate with Jane's journey to find out who she is and what she wants her life to be. Some reviews I've seen call this novel the first "chick lit" of the new millennium, which is both demeaning and misogynistic, putting a book written by a woman about women in a second-class category. Sure there are stories about dating, but the men are used more to illustrate Jane discovering who she is and what she expects from people in her life.
Bank avoids using the typical tropes of women in media: no “manic pixie dream girl” who is going to fix the male character with her quirkiness. No “strong female lead” who must never make a mistake or feminism is dead. No “straw feminist”, an extremist who hates all men. Above all Jane is a person, with her own dreams and desires, who makes mistakes and grows from it. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and fight for her own happiness.
This is best shown in the final story, where she tries to follow this awful self-help book to “catch” a husband. The book tells her to put her true self aside and put on an act of “hard to get” so that men can enjoy the chase. She soon learns that this does not make her happy, and doesn't help her get a man that she would actually want. It was so wonderful to see a character go through the struggles than many of us single women face in today’s horribly skewed dating world. Women have so many rules that are supposed to follow or else a man will never want them. You’re either a whore or a prude, a good future mother and wife or a feminazi lesbian. These dichotomies are perpetuated by both women and men and in the end are hurtful to both. Do we really think so little of men that we assume they can’t handle a complex, multi-faceted woman? And do men really think that they don’t want that? Jane goes through stages of trying to fit herself into other’s worlds but in the end her strong personality and fabulously sharp sense of humor allow her to walk away from relationships that don’t make her happy and fight for ones that do. That’s the definition of a true “strong woman”.
...more
1

Jul 25, 2007

I just finished this book and I've got to tell you I was utterly disappointed. I remember this book was out around the time that Bridget Jones' Diary was out and they were comparing the two as "great novels for single females". While Bridget Jones did the trick, this book did not satisfy me what-so-ever. I didn't really feel any connection or feel like I bonded with the main character Jane. I can't imagine dating someone 28 years older than me who also is an alcoholic no matter what people say I just finished this book and I've got to tell you I was utterly disappointed. I remember this book was out around the time that Bridget Jones' Diary was out and they were comparing the two as "great novels for single females". While Bridget Jones did the trick, this book did not satisfy me what-so-ever. I didn't really feel any connection or feel like I bonded with the main character Jane. I can't imagine dating someone 28 years older than me who also is an alcoholic no matter what people say about love. The only chapter I liked in the book was ironically the last one that actually dealt with "the girls guide to hunting and fishing". It could be that I really expected something fabulous with this book, but honestly I didn't like it and I wouldn't want to recommend it to my friends. There are plenty of other great novels out there! ...more
1

Nov 28, 2013

This book was lent to me against my will. A dear friend said it was good and I should read it; I asked whether it was just about romantic relationships, as the blurb suggested it was, and would thus not be to my taste. She said maybe, but that I should read it anyway. So I have done so, as fast as I could in order to be able to give it back. I was correct in my initial assessment. [EDITED TO ADD: My dear friend has since admitted that she lent me the book because she didn't want it! A book-based This book was lent to me against my will. A dear friend said it was good and I should read it; I asked whether it was just about romantic relationships, as the blurb suggested it was, and would thus not be to my taste. She said maybe, but that I should read it anyway. So I have done so, as fast as I could in order to be able to give it back. I was correct in my initial assessment. [EDITED TO ADD: My dear friend has since admitted that she lent me the book because she didn't want it! A book-based betrayal.]

‘The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing’ is written well enough, but everything about it wholly alienated me. It concerns a woman called Jane, her family, and their respective romantic relationships. They are privileged Americans who never worry about paying bills, or taking care of their relatives, or their friends, or about political issues, or climate change, or their future financial security, or their housing, or anything that I consider it usual to worry about. They are obsessed by and seem to wholly fetishise monogamous heterosexual marriage, as if it is the only thing worth pursuing in life. I cannot tell you how utterly and completely bored I am with this fixation. I didn’t care about Jane’s love life, or that of any of the characters, because it was all just so clichéd and predictable. Every potential relationship involved jealousy of past or future partners, as if the current boyfriend and girlfriend had to be absolutely everything to each other for all time, as if that wasn’t unrealistic in the extreme. The only parts that I could in some way relate to concerned health crises, and even those were forcibly made all about Jane’s pursuit of love-equated-with-marriage.

Please can Melissa Bank write about something else. Despite being a vegetarian, I would have preferred to read an actual guide to hunting and fishing. ...more
5

Oct 23, 2010

I love this book, but gosh, do I hate the packaging. My copy is lemon yellow and girly pink and it looks like rubbish chick lit.

I would just like to clarify that this book is not chick lit. It's strong and truthful and real and and and... well. It makes me bristle and want to defend its honour. It's written as a series of short stories about the men in the life of a woman called Jane. (I suppose you could call them chapters, but I think of it more like Amy Bloom's short stories than a I love this book, but gosh, do I hate the packaging. My copy is lemon yellow and girly pink and it looks like rubbish chick lit.

I would just like to clarify that this book is not chick lit. It's strong and truthful and real and and and... well. It makes me bristle and want to defend its honour. It's written as a series of short stories about the men in the life of a woman called Jane. (I suppose you could call them chapters, but I think of it more like Amy Bloom's short stories than a traditional novel.)

Yes: so far, so chick lit. But it is not at all. It is not formulaic, or ridiculous and is quietly truthful in a way I found touching without being cloying. Jane is a likable, realistic and flawed (of course - aren't we all?) character and I found myself hoping everything would work out for her, but also hoping it wouldn't be too easy. I did not want a white knight to swoop down and save her - and the book itself gave me the feeling that this was not a good idea, either.

I did laugh out loud a few times like the book cover informed me I would, but it's a wicked laugh, a laugh born of uncomfortable and awkward situations that you can recognise yourself and those you love in, rather like watching an episode of The Office.

If you enjoyed Amy Bloom or Simona Vinci, or indeed
Margaret Atwood or Tove Jansson, give this a go. And don't be put off by the cover!
...more
4

Jan 18, 2008

This is a series of short stories about Jane. (Well one story is about her neighbors.) We first meet her at 14 during summer vacation when her older brother brings home a girl for the weekend. From there we see her grow as she searches for her place in the world and looking for love. As we read her story we relate to her frustration at work, her choices in men and her grief when her father is dies. Jane is witty and at times a bit dark. My favorite story is when she meets a man at a friends This is a series of short stories about Jane. (Well one story is about her neighbors.) We first meet her at 14 during summer vacation when her older brother brings home a girl for the weekend. From there we see her grow as she searches for her place in the world and looking for love. As we read her story we relate to her frustration at work, her choices in men and her grief when her father is dies. Jane is witty and at times a bit dark. My favorite story is when she meets a man at a friends wedding. She then reading one of those self help books on how to catch a man. The internal dialog she has with the authors of this self help book as she negotates this new relationship made me laugh and shake my head at the same time.

I really enjoyed this book which was one of the first books to start the whole chick lit genre. If you like Bridget Jones' Diary (and I did) you'll like this book. ...more
3

Oct 05, 2016

Every chapter of this book was different, both in writing style and quality. The weird chapter in the middle with a different perspective was not necessary, and the last chapter was just plain stupid. Some of the other chapters had me feeling things though, so all in all this book could have been great after some more editing.
Oh and the title is misleading and very forced in its meaning.
2

Dec 02, 2008

I found this somewhat disappointing. Not that it was a bad book - but it really meandered and it wasn't as enthralling as I had hoped. It had moments but over all not what I thought I was getting into.
2

Jul 24, 2011

I kind of don't get this book, and I'm not sure how to rate it. Some of it I liked, some I didn't. The biggest thing I don't get is that I thought it was a novel. Like all the way through about the same character. And it is - it's her coming of age story, from the time she was 14 (my favorite part of the book), up until probably her 30's. And it's broken up into sections of her life and told by her. But then, just kind of randomly, there are two sections that aren't told by her and aren't about I kind of don't get this book, and I'm not sure how to rate it. Some of it I liked, some I didn't. The biggest thing I don't get is that I thought it was a novel. Like all the way through about the same character. And it is - it's her coming of age story, from the time she was 14 (my favorite part of the book), up until probably her 30's. And it's broken up into sections of her life and told by her. But then, just kind of randomly, there are two sections that aren't told by her and aren't about her. One is told by her neighbor, which is the closest it comes to being about her, and the other is just some random short story kind of a thing about I don't know who. What's up with that? Does that means it's really a compilation of short stories? But it's not. It's about Jane. It starts with Jane and ends with Jane and is told in chronological order about her life, except for these two chapters I'm referring to. That really threw me off and turned me off. Plus much of the book was just kind of a bummer. I also didn't like all the split personalities at the end. I realized as I neared the end, that I can not relate to the main character in any way and maybe that is part of the problem. Loved the name of the book. Loved the cover. Loved Jane at 14. The rest, I probably could have done without. ...more
4

Jan 13, 2019

This book has been sitting on my shelves for almost 10 years because when I first acquired it, I read somewhere that it was like a cross between Bridget Jones and the Shopaholic. And I HATED the Shopaholic books with a passion, so I filed this under 'maybe someday' and promptly forgot about it. I was doing some bookcleaning over Christmas and pulled it out with the intention of stuffing it into a Little Free Library, but decided to give the first few pages a glance before sending it away. I am This book has been sitting on my shelves for almost 10 years because when I first acquired it, I read somewhere that it was like a cross between Bridget Jones and the Shopaholic. And I HATED the Shopaholic books with a passion, so I filed this under 'maybe someday' and promptly forgot about it. I was doing some bookcleaning over Christmas and pulled it out with the intention of stuffing it into a Little Free Library, but decided to give the first few pages a glance before sending it away. I am SO GLAD I did that!!

This book is NOTHING like Shopaholic (who is a self-indulgent irresponsible lightweight), nor even like Bridget Jones (which I liked better as a movie). This book is about a young woman and her 'dating' life, but each chapter is told as a distinct story set at a particular time in her life. One of the chapters isn't even about her -- its about people living in her building and she is mentioned only in passing. Each chapter reveals a bit about our young woman, Jane. But what is important is that this revealing is happening to Jane as well. Throughout the book she is learning about herself. In that way we all do -- by making mistakes. The writing is sharp, observant and witty. Jane herself is sharp, observant and witty. I don't want to give too much away, but the middle chapter where she is dating the guy the same age as her father just did me in. I actually teared up.

So it turns out that you should never discount a book just because someone else describes it in a certain way. I might have totally missed out on this. It isn't going to win a Pulitzer, but I just had 3 days of fabulous reading-fun! ...more
2

Nov 06, 2014

Ugh. In the annals of great Chick Lit (Bridget Jones' Diary, Sex and the City, et al.) this book wouldn't even be a footnote. Sporadic, pathetic, and droll- steer clear fellow readers! The only reason I gave it two stars is that the main character references some good literature- although she fails to emulate the strong female ideals she professes to enjoy. Bleh.
2

Mar 08, 2009

I had heard this book was a novel satirizing novels about women fixated on catching a man and the Finding and Keeping Mr. Right type self-help books. The last chapter came the closest to fitting this description and even that was predictable and poorly done. Perhaps I had wrong information and am judging this book too harshly because it wasn't what I was expecting when it was never intended to be that. All I know is that it was a struggle for me to finish this.

Overall, this read more like a I had heard this book was a novel satirizing novels about women fixated on catching a man and the Finding and Keeping Mr. Right type self-help books. The last chapter came the closest to fitting this description and even that was predictable and poorly done. Perhaps I had wrong information and am judging this book too harshly because it wasn't what I was expecting when it was never intended to be that. All I know is that it was a struggle for me to finish this.

Overall, this read more like a collection of short stories than a novel, no real surprise since the publication info page indicates that many chapters previously appeared singly in various publications. All the stories were supposedly about the same main character but a couple of them just didn't seem to fit, there was no real connection to events in the other stories and the main character acted different enough to seem like a new person. None of the stories grabbed my attention and I never cared what happened to the main character in her many relationships. It was just another book about a whiny female who can't get her life together and all the relationships (romantic or otherwise) that she screws up or actually manages to get right. Not at all my kind of thing. ...more
3

Jul 03, 2008

"After a while, though, it occurs to you that even a perfect understanding of failed love is the booby prize."
2

May 17, 2010

I am not sure why this book received the hype it did. Does Melissa just have fabulous publishing connections? The book teaches you nothing except that love is sometimes difficult (no brainstorm there). Jane doesn't experience most of the love traumas most women do. None of the men up and leave her. None really cheat on her (there's one maybe brief moment of infidelity) or abuse her. They all seem to adore her, perhaps in their limited way, but adore her nonetheless. And she always leaves them. I am not sure why this book received the hype it did. Does Melissa just have fabulous publishing connections? The book teaches you nothing except that love is sometimes difficult (no brainstorm there). Jane doesn't experience most of the love traumas most women do. None of the men up and leave her. None really cheat on her (there's one maybe brief moment of infidelity) or abuse her. They all seem to adore her, perhaps in their limited way, but adore her nonetheless. And she always leaves them. Why then does she need to buy and follow Meeting and Marrying Mr. Right? Her problem isn't that she can't keep a man. Her problem is that she's not choosing her men wisely. Actually, her men reflect her own ambivilance about her life goals. The solution doesn't lie in better relationship games but in figuring out what she really wants in life. I will give her credit for writing a very quick read but an only mildly entertaining read. The writing style is light with some snappy one-liners. The one highlight in the book is her relationship with her father. But it's definately not a realistic look at relationships in the 90s -- unless you're dating men who take you on great trips to St. Croix and men older than your father. If you must read it, wait until the paperback. ...more

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