The first novel by Melissa Bank, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing is a collection of re-worked short stories, filled out with additional tales narrated by Jane Rosenal. The story starts with Rosenal is 14 and on vacation with her family, and focuses in on her brother's relationship with an older woman. Each chapter follows Jane as she gets older and search for love and trying to get her life somewhat together.
The book itself makes for excellent subway reading- each chapter can stand alone as its own story. Yet overall, the book flows nicely because of the chronology and the focus of the stories on her love life.
If Bridget Jones were American, she would be Rosenal (even if the back of my book tells me she "is no Bridget Jones- she is feistier, wittier and utterly loveable"). If we are to be playing by the rules, then why are so many great books written about women who play by their own rules? It’s insane. Women are stuck in between such oppositions. We should love ourselves and think we’re great! Nothing can stop us! The World is ours for the taking! But, only if we are a size 3, can cook a gourmet meal from scratch, have an MBA, and are a sex goddess in the bedroom. Characters like Jane and Bridget only make it more confusing because they play by their own rules and seemingly win. So Melissa Bank writes a best-selling novel and when we read it, it makes us cheer. “Finally! A character I can relate to that isn’t Sal Paradise, or Holden Caulfield, or even Esther! A character that understands what it’s like to be me! I can be myself and find someone who loves me just as I am!” And after we finish, we go right back to reading Cosmo and Glamour.