The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing

These days it seems that anything written by a woman gets lumped into the “chick lit” bin. However, I think The Girls’ Guide… truly qualifies for that label and it reminds me that I’m really not a girly girl. I’ve never seen a single episode of Sex in the City either.

I like the main character, Jane. She is self-deprecating and has a wacky sense of humor. I found the structure of the book interesting. It’s a series of short stories, most of them told in the first person by Jane. (There’s one story in the middle, “The Best Possible Light” which isn’t and I never figured out how it fit into the rest of the book.) If this book were a TV series, each story would be like a single season; each with its own arc which contributes to the pattern of the larger arc of the novel. Of the stories (relationships), I liked “My Old Man” and “The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imagine” best because Jane’s dialog with Archie is the most endearing and he is the most filled in of the boyfriend characters. I liked “You Could Be Anyone” least because it’s told in an awkward second person and tense. The boyfriend is too perfect while at the same time being completely wrong. He doesn’t seem like a real person. None of the boyfriends do…except Archie. They are collections of mannerisms and quirks. They are Ken dolls, make-believe men who are just a reflection of how women think men act and think.

Overall the book was an easy read. There were some clever lines that pulled me up and made me think, “That was a clever line.” The style didn’t distract from the narrative except in two cases: the story told in the second person and dialogs. In almost every dialog the author feels the need to write “he said…she said…he said…she said” after every line. Only two people are talking. The lines are typically short. It’s not like the reader is going to lose track of who’s saying what. They shouldn’t. The voices of each character and the information they are imparting should be enough to help us keep track. This was such a tedious habit that it distracted me for the first third of the book.

Bottom Line

Not recommended…unless you’re a 20-something single woman looking for a distraction on a 3-hour plane flight.

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