October 08, 2011
The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks
The book centers around Jane, starting when she is young and watching her brother interact with a new girlfriend, and then progressing through her life as she gets older and starts dating and having relationships herself. And she is not very good at relationships as is reflected in the short story format that the book is written as. These snippets of Jane's life (and one of some of her neighbors which was somewhat out of place) tell her story by her relationships and interactions. They show her doing her best out there in the world and her indecisiveness at just what she wants in her life.
As a character, Jane is ok. She is normal and somewhat funny even. But I just couldn't connect to her. She didn't hold any charm for me. Likewise the rest of the characters revolved around her and as such were only completed by her so this same feeling extended to them as well. Her relationship with Archie, the older man, could have been quite interesting, but instead I found a sense of skeaziness about him that didn't have to be there. Her other relationships too weren't developed the greatest and while I realize that's real life sometimes, people at least usually have some type of vividness.
The short story format was ok, but I found myself only truly liking the last story of the book. It had the best written characters and was actually interesting and compelling. The other stories I just found sort of depressing and not really adding to the book at all. The writing is nice enough, descriptive and pleasant to read. There are some mentions of sex and cussing, but it is all very mild in the scope of things. I find myself just wishing that most of the book was written like the last chapter and it would have been much more entertaining.
So don't go into this book expecting to learn how to hunt and fish. Treat it as a series of short stories about a woman and her relationships and you'll do just fine.
The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing