The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing by Melissa BankThe Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing by Melissa Bank

The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing

byMelissa Bank

Paperback | May 1, 2000

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The New York Times bestselling classic of a young woman’s journey in work, love, and life
 
“In this swinging, funny, and tender study of contemporary relationships, Bank refutes once and for all the popular notions of neurotic thirtysomething women.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“Truly poignant.” —Time
 
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, relationships, and the treacherous waters of the workplace. Soon Jane is swept off her feet by an older man and into a Fitzgeraldesque whirl of cocktail parties, country houses, and rules that were made to be broken, but comes to realize that it’s a world where the stakes are much too high for comfort. With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out universal issues, puts a clever new spin on the mating dance, and captures in perfect pitch what it’s like to come of age as a young woman.
Melissa Bank is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, and Zoetrope, among other publications, and has been heard on National Public Radio and featured at Symphony Space in New York City. Bank holds an MFA from Cor...
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Title:The Girls' Guide To Hunting And FishingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.7 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:May 1, 2000Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140293248

ISBN - 13:9780140293241

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and charming characters Not only did this book hook me after the first page, it also made me feel all the emotions and often times, all at once. Jane is brilliantly complex and honest and has become one of my favourite fictional female characters of all time. This is a beautifully written book that you won't be able to put down and one that you will think about long after you've finished reading it.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Ingenius Guide A Girls Guide primarily follows the life of Jane, through various stages of her life. Bank accomplishes this by styling the book in a series of short stories. While these stories are unified, in that most of them involve the same character and later stories build on previous ones, each story in and of itself can also be read as a contained snypet of a particular section of Jane's life. For me, Jane worked tremendously well as a character. She exhibited enough positive qualities to earn her my respect and ability to like her, but she was not perfect, and her sense of cynisism and delusion about love, life, and her chosen profession make her that much more enjoyable. Underlying Jane's experiences throughout these stories, is, as indicated by the book's title, a guide for twenty-something women as they navagate the mysteries of love -- a "how-to" manual, if you will. The last chapter (or story, depending on your take), is perhaps the most enjoyable, and most ingenius. Jane finds herself tempted to explore the advise of a self-help book in order to help her love life. What makes this section so clever is that while drawing attention to the realm of the self-help book, Banks also mocks herself in her attempts to resemble one via the persona of Jane. The book suddenly takes on a more light-hearted tone, as Jane learns, as does the reader throughout reading Bank's book, that the best self-help advice comes from...well, the self -- who did you think? My only criticism lays within one chapter/story. About half-way throughout A Girls Guide, the reader leaves the life of Jane, and is given a glimpse into another character instead. I did not fully understand the necessity for this, as it only vaguely related to the rest of the book. Bank's demonstrates a fun, easy-to-read style of writing, with plot lines full of wit and humour. She introduces the reader to a character that the reader does not want to leave. This book was published prior to Bridget Jones and the Bridget Jones's clones, predecessing the naive, yet cynical, humour that made Bridget the best friend of many women. Unlike Bridget's annoying self-torture-like tendencies, Bank's Jane presents the reader with a confident, yet slightly unaware, woman -- one who needs a little "guiding," if you will.
Date published: 2006-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny, Fantastic and Beautifully Written The Girls Guide To Hunting and Fishing is a book that can make almost any reader smile with delight. I can't guarantee that you will like it as much as I do, but I can guarantee that it will be a book you won't be disappointed in.
Date published: 2002-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny, touching, couldn't put it down! I almost skipped work just so I could finish this book. I started reading at 9pm and just couldn't put it down! Maybe it was PMS or something, but parts of this book made me burst out laughing, and parts of it brought tears to my eyes. I loved the section titled "You Could Be Anyone"...couldn't breathe as Bank pounds me with emotion after emotion. The only complaint is that the book had to end. PS Can anyone tell me the significance of "The Best Possible Light"? I like the story, but seeing that it had a really weak connection to Jane's stories, it kinda stuck out in the book.
Date published: 2001-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I laughed and laughed.. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't help but draw parallels to the book, Bridget Jones' Diary though. Which was ok because I loved that book too. I also was able to identify with a lot of Jane's feelings and experiences, which made it even funnier and more enjoyable to read.
Date published: 2001-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing The language is excellent. Melissa's ability to capture normal human feelings and emotions in words is inspiring and makes you reread a sentence just to savour its impact and perception. The book is entertaining and enjoyable at the same time that it communicates very provocative thoughts.
Date published: 2000-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply marvellous There's already plenty of positive reviews here, but I just had to add my own because I liked this book so much. It's a series of short stories profiling the men in the life of Jane, a sassy, tough woman who wonders if she is capable of love and a happy relationship. The stories are alternately funny and poignant, but all of them are oh-so-true. Just as entertaining as Bridget Jones, but with the added weight of real relationships portrayed in a thoughtful way. A great read for any woman -- all my sisters are getting copies for Christmas!
Date published: 2000-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! WOW! what more can i say? it was amazing! it had everything, the humour was excellent! the way that Melissa Bank made her character Jane think and the perspective on things that she gave her was humourously enjoyable! i've never read anything like this before! i'd recommend this to any of my teen friends, and im sure tonns of adults would love this book too. i could totally relate to the main character in so many ways that i felt as though Melissa was telling a story about me! i absoulutly loved it! three thumbs up!
Date published: 2000-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I don't often find a book... ...that can keep me spellbound for hours! I found I was either chuckling merrily at Jane's wit, or self-consciously biting my lips in recognition of my own relationship woes. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale and am looking for more Melissa Bank!
Date published: 2000-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top 10 This book is without a doubt, one of my top 10 of all time. Banks had me laughing out loud on many occasions, and the storyline never became boring. A fast read, I give it a solid 9.5/10
Date published: 2000-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such A Great Novel I absolutley love this book. I read it in about 4 hours. I couldn't put it down. I would recomend this book to anybody no matter what type of reading you like. This book talks about a girls life while she meets guys she thinks she loves and then experiences heartbreak over and over again. Sad and happy at the same time.
Date published: 2000-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Summer Hit for Chicks I was on vacation and picked this book up off my host's shelf...I couldn't put it down. It is such a fast, witty, fun summer read! Banks has a great sense of humour and her writing is a pleasure to lap up. It's a perfect book to read and pass on among the girls!
Date published: 2000-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pleasantly readable Banks is a talented woman who writes with energetic self-mockery. This book totally deserves all the attention it is getting. A thoroughly enjoyable read for any girl looking to 'have it all'.
Date published: 2000-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from not to be underestimated I enjoyed this book a great deal. I did find myself laughing out loud and noticing the parallels with my own life. Yikes Its a great beach book.
Date published: 2000-06-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Dissapointing After reading an excerpt of "The Girl's Guide..." on this very website, I was expecting a sharp, funny, and hopefully insightful book. It is not. The writing itself is spare, but not meaningful; the storyline jumps through time in somewhat of a sequence, but is very disjointed; and the main character is not given a chance to develop because the author is too infatuated with sounding terse and "smart". There are a few humorous moments towards the very end of the book (the excerpt I read here on Chapters being one of them), but all in all, it is not worth the time or cover price.
Date published: 2000-06-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing After reading an excerpt of "The Girl's Guide" on this very website, I was expecting a sharp, funny, and hopefully insightful book. It is not. The writing itself is spare, but not meaningful; the storyline jumps through time in somewhat of a sequence, but is very disjointed; and the main character is not given a chance to develop because the author is too infatuated with sounding terse and "smart". There are a few humorous moments towards the very end of the book (the excerpt I read here on Chapters being one of them), but all in all, it is not worth the time or cover price.
Date published: 2000-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BIAS OPINION I have seen a girl that I like on the TTC reading this book, and now that I know it is about a quest to find the right guy I am going to read it and ask her out. I love this book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2000-05-18

Read from the Book

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.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION"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."In The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank's crisp, witty, and revealing stories offer poignant glimpses of Jane Rosenal's spirited search for true love, self-understanding, and a fulfilling career. It is as though Bank has trained a telescope on the lit window of an adjacent apartment building, coaxing the reader to glean from the actions of its occupants the behavior patterns of East Coast urbanites.Throughout the book there is a big-city quality of being simultaneously close to and far from other people. In one story, Jane's frustrated lover Archie Knox asks her if she knows Dante's definition of hell. "Proximity without intimacy," he tells her. Indeed, intimacy is a scarce commodity in The Girls' Guide, and in her quest for it, Jane shares the world-weary trudge and tragic sense of humor bequeathed to all who expect to make sense of life or to understand love. Bank's use of humor to deflect despair have conjured for many the ghost of J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, slunk in his Macintosh (coat, not laptop). A familiar aura of sweetness and loss reminiscent of Salinger is palpable from the first pages of the book, when we meet Jane's older brother Henry, who, by introducing his "mature" girlfriend to the family has indelibly altered the paradigm of familial relationships with which young Jane is accustomed.In the face of these changes, Jane soldiers on, looking to parents and brothers, girlfriends, lovers, and the self-help section in search of rules to explain it all. As the epigraphs to the stories indicate, almost any set of rules might do as well as the next. Sailing guide or feminist manifesto, older lover or typewriter manual, the facts of life are everywhere, and everywhere equally contrary, obtuse, without context, incomplete. Despite life's capriciousness, Jane resourcefully divines lessons from whatever and whomever is at hand, whether her great-aunt Rita (look up when you walk, tilt your chin, try to appear captivated) or lonely neighbor Oliver Biddle, whose shortcomings teenage Jane quickly distills: "Oliver Biddle was who you became if you couldn't find anyone to love except your parents."Where there are rules, there are games, and the people in Jane's life are always playing games. From tennis to poker to name-the-capital, they play games for fun, for sport, out of boredom, out of fear, and out of love. Sometimes they play them on purpose, often they can't help themselves, and at other times they don't even know they're playing. Worst of all, the rules, assuming there are any, aren't spelled out for the uninitiated. One is expected to watch, listen, and then jump in. In St. Croix, when the group plays poker, Jane says, "Don't you think you should have told me the rules?" and Yves says, "It's just a game." But Jane knows as well as the others that what they are playing is more than poker and the rules are far too complex to explain. At another point, Jane tells her mom "You can't expect everyone to know your rules." Ironically, people do expect everyone to know their rules, even when they are not aware of having any.Bank herself plays games, assuming her readers will watch carefully and catch on. Ever deft at conveying much with little, Bank fleetingly introduces Nina and Ben Solomon, the neighbors from "The Best Possible Light," when sixteen-year-old Jane and her grandmother sip brandy on the terrace in "My Old Man." The Solomons come out on the larger terrace downstairs to share a cigarette. "The woman stood against the wall, with her arms crossed." Jane notices and asks, "Who lives there?" In a book as spare and meticulous as The Girls' Guide, Nina's crossed arms and Jane's curiosity carry weight. There is nothing about this moment to indicate levity, and though we are given very little information about the couple, their image lingers and one wonders what becomes of them.In the next story, Bank takes us downstairs for a better look at Nina Solomon and her kids, years later, sans Ben. (We don't know it's the Solomons for quite a while, but that's part of the game.) It is a portrait of a family committed to questioning society's generally accepted rules. We have seen that Jane's family follows rules, even subtle household gender codes. When Henry brings home his girlfriend, he and his dad go sailboat shopping while the girls walk on the beach and talk about fancy dishware. In contrast, the Solomons test the validity of every rule. "The Best Possible Light" is like a multi-generational study of unconventional child-rearing practices (ironically kicked off with a quotation from Dr. Spock). On the night of the story, Barney, Nina's son, discloses that his ex-wife is pregnant with his child, as is his current girlfriend. Reactions are mixed, though one sister's Italian boyfriend—a representative from the epitome of traditional families—offers his evaluation, saying as he leaves, "I think you are a good family," a resounding endorsement for the wisdom of the Solomons' ways.The guardians of social mores are everywhere. We hear voices of instruction in advertisements, books, family, lovers, handbooks to anything from bringing up a baby to being a Girl Scout, even from people Jane's never met, such as Nina Solomon. Codes of behavior and expectations don't have to be articulated, they've been insinuated into our every gesture. They are impossible to avoid.In the final story, befuddled by experience, Jane conducts a behavioral experiment against her own intuition. Suppose the relationship between a man and a woman is not love under a veneer of games, but a game under a veneer of love? In the regimented romantic life she launches with the help of How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right, falling in love is a test of wills, structured like a game, a hunt, or a formal dance. It's not surprising that when Jane hits the dance floor for single's night, she goes to a square dance, that thoroughly structured exchange between the sexes, where a caller directs the moves and changing partners is just part of the dance.Jane's rejection of this last hypothesis about how people love each other marks her arrival at autonomy. The self-confidence that strengthened after her father's death and faltered with her foray into the self-help section, returns, triumphantly, when she discovers the validity of her instincts. In an interview, Bank commented, "Someone asked me how the book might be described. I think it would be "Girl meets boy, girl loses self, girl gets self.'" Ultimately, the big game being pursued in The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing is not a guy, it's Jane herself. It doesn't matter if her relationship with Robert at the end of the book flourishes or fails, she has transcended the rules and moved on to a more authentic intimacy.Hailed by critics as the debut of a major literary voice, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing has captivated readers and dominated bestseller lists. Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, it 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. With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out universal issues, puts a clever, 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.ABOUT MELISSA BANKMelissa Bank won the 1993 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. She has published stories in the Chicago Tribune, Zoetrope, The North American Review, 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, Long Island.PRAISE"Bank writes like John Cheever, but funnier."—Los Angeles Times"Captivating."—Newsweek"Truly poignant?There is an exquisite honesty to Jane's relationships." —Time"In this swinging, funny, and tender study of contemporary relationships, Bank refutes once and for all the popular notion of neurotic thirtysomething single women." —Entertainment Weekly"A funny, fresh Baedeker of the alternately confusing and empowering state of being female in the late-twentieth century America."—Elle"Worth its weight in gold wedding bands." —The New Yorker"Charming and funny."—The New York Times"Gorgeous and wise." —MademoiselleDISCUSSION QUESTIONSJane says, "You get all these voices about what a woman is supposed to be like—you know, feminine. . . . And I've spent my whole life trying not to hear them." Do men hear voices telling them what a man is supposed to be like? What is significant about Jane's attempt to ignore them? Where do these voices come from? Are they saying the same thing today as twenty years ago? Imagine this book had been called something less gender-specific and romance-related than The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, for example The Best Possible Light. How would you have read it differently? What if it was calledEvery Man's Guide to Hunting and Fishing? Jane calls the era when she and her friend Sophie were between boyfriends their sea-horse period, "when we were told that we didn't need mates; we were supposed to make ourselves happy just bobbing around in careers." What role does work play in Jane's life? What is the ideal role of work? How have women's expectations of their professional life changed since they first entered the workplace? How does The Girls' Guide work as an overall story? What do the two stories that Jane doesn't narrate, "The Best Possible Light" and "You Could Be Anyone," add to the book? Jane is attracted to Archie Knox from the first time she sees him, at the theater with her great-aunt when she is only sixteen. What is it about Archie that appeals to her? Religion doesn't seem to play a significant role in Jane's life. If you could make up a religion for Jane, what would it be, and how would it change her life? Jane seems to have a stronger bond with her father and her great-aunt than with her mother. Is there something lacking in her mom? What is it? In an interview, Melissa Bank commented that "Nobody can actually be funny and erotic at the same time. . . . When you're being erotic, you're creating a spell; when you're making a joke, you're breaking it." What does being funny do for Jane? What significance does cancer have in the book? What about smoking? How big of a role does New York City play in The Girls' Guide? Could the stories have been set in your hometown? How would they be different?

From Our Editors

The passage from inexperienced teenage girl to professional woman, wife and mother can be an arduous journey. Jane is a smart, funny career woman who looks for guidance in the form of self-help books in the age-old quest to find the right guy. Melissa Bank’s The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing is a laugh-out-loud book, full of insights into how to be a modern woman -- and maybe have your cake and eat it too.

Editorial Reviews

“Charming and funny.”—The New York Times   “As hilarious as Girls’ Guide is, there’s a wise, serious core here.” —The Wall Street Journal“A sexy, pour-your-heart-out, champagne tingle of a read—thoughtful, wise, and tell-all honest. Bank’s is a voice that you’ll remember for years to come.” —Cosmopolitan “Believe the hype: Jane’s touching (but unsentimental) career and love trials ring true.” —Glamour   “Bank writes like John Cheever, but funnier.” —Los Angeles Times   “Melissa Bank accomplishes that hardest of simple things: She shows life as it is—and makes it readable.” —The Washington Post Book World   “Writing literature that mixes comedy and tragedy in the proper amounts is not an easy task. Only a handful of contemporary writers (Joseph Heller, Ann Tyler, and John Irving come to mind) can do it with any success. Whether dealing with serious issues or mundane, Bank proves that she has what it takes to stand in such august company.” —The Denver Post   “Crafted by a gifted writer, a descendant from the school of restraint whose grandfather is Hemingway and whose father is the early Raymond Carver. The presiding mother figure is Lily Tomlin.” —The News and Observer   “Only a few authors have successfully blended the compressed nature of short prose with the novel’s greater panorama of character. Melissa Bank brings similar energy and style to her new book.” —Chicago Tribune“I read the first chapter and thought, ‘Wait, I know this girl.’ By the second, I realized she was my friend. She did all the things that good friends do: she made me laugh, she made me weep, and when I closed the book at the end of the day, I knew I’d never forget her.” —Ruth Ozeki, New York Times bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being and My Year of Meats   “Courageous and wise, as heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny as only the most deeply true fiction can be. Melissa Bank writes with a fine eye, a clean voice, and a generous heart.” —Pam Houston, bestselling author of Sight Hound and Cowboys are My Weakness   “A compassionate comedy of manners, pitch-perfect . . . Bank’s people are fully realized and, just like us, fond, foolish, blind, and wise by turns and in ways both tenderly familiar and refreshingly odd.” —Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us