The Girls’ Guide To Hunting And Fishing

19 Nov


It’s 3:30PM in Tempe, Arizona and I’ve driven all day.  My Corolla is stuffed with suitcases and bikinis, the things that will sustain me through two months of desert cruelty.

I rush through the lease signing process. “Yes, cool, this is for the pool, gotcha,” I say.  I take my apartment key and race back to my full car.

L-I-B-R-A-R-Y I type into Google Maps.

Bingo!  Open until 5:00!

(I know this, of course.  I’ve checked several times.  It was why I left Utah when I did.)

The librarian  tells me they typically need more documentation to grant a card.  I smile and plead and say, “This is all I have, I am only here for the summer.”

I get my library card, a larger-than-average sized keychain with a Native American theme.

I check out my first book and put 20 more on hold.

I have a rule that my library card should always be near its limit.

It’s a fun rule to have.

It’s also a fun story to tell.

The first thing I do in a new place (before I go into the apartment I’ve rented sight-unseen) is make sure I’ve maxed out my library card.

Oh gosh I love to read.

And yet.

And yet and yet.

For all this reading I do, for all the books I tear through or labor through or cry through, fewer and fewer of them make a Life Impact these days.  I’m no longer a little girl discovering Little Women for the first time.

I’m a Shania Twain, still excited at the prospect of discovery, but a tiny bit more “That don’t impress me much.”

Which is why this latest treasure, this latest take-my-breath-away novel has stayed with me.

The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing is brilliant.  Melissa Bank is brilliant.  She has Hemingway-esque prose and superb insight into the female mind and a way of saying things so clearly.  I’m a writer with all the adjectives and all the drama and all the words. I admire her restraint.  Her ability to just say something.

Something true.

Something funny, and insightful, and real.


Go.  Read this book.

Tell me all your thoughts.


Some of my favorite quotes.  Prepare yourself for overload/brilliance:

You hear that he can’t hear you, you see that he can’t see you. You are not here—and you haven’t even died yet. You see yourself through his eyes, as The Generic Woman, the skirted symbol on the ladies’ room door.

When he says “I love you, honey,” you realize that he never calls you by your name.

“Can you see yourself growing old in the suburbs?”

“Only if it’s a choice between the suburbs and setting myself on fire.”

I am a dater. I am a snorkeler in the social swim.

It occurs to me that I might not like fun.

“No wonder I’m single,” she says to the mirror. “Even I don’t want to get into bed with these thighs.”

I say that getting married isn’t like winning the Miss America Pageant; it doesn’t all come down to the bathing suit competition.

“What do you think it comes down to?” She says.

I say, “Baton twirling.”

Sometimes you worry that he loved you better than any man ever has or will—even if it had nothing to do with you.

Today was the first day of the rest of my life. It was okay. I think the second day of the rest of my life will be better.

Everywhere you go, you see women more beautiful than yourself.

You imagine him being attracted to them.

You’re drinking gasoline to stay warm.

‘It isn’t you,’ he says, as though you’re to be comforted by the irrelevant role you play in your own life.

You realize that if he doesn’t know who you are, he won’t be able to remember who you were.

“You are making it harder than it has to be,” she says.

I say, “And should I forgive him because it would be easier?”

“You don’t need a reason to forgive,” she says. “If you want to go on with someone, that is what you do.”

I guess love is the real suspension of disbelief.

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13 Responses to “The Girls’ Guide To Hunting And Fishing”

  1. bailey November 19, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    i looooved ‘the girls’ guide’

    • jillianlorraine November 20, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Of course you did 🙂 I feel like we’re in a long distance book club or something at this point.

  2. Jade November 20, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    I need to get my hands on this book! Also, love your blog. Inspired me to write again.

    • jillianlorraine November 20, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Wow, biggest compliment! Thank you!

  3. Linnea November 20, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    This is on my list to read- will have to bump it to the top.

    The first thing I do when I move somewhere is find the library, too. 🙂

    I’m finishing up All the Light We Cannot See right now – have you read that one yet?!

    • jillianlorraine November 20, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      I haven’t! I just put Brown Girl Dreaming on hold–another nominee (and now winner) of the National Book Award. I probably need to do a more compressive book post, I seem to have hit a good streak with books lately.

      • Linnea November 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Yes, a book post is a must now.

        Also, read All t he Light We Cannot See. Granted, I haven’t quite finished it yet. But so far it has been very good.

  4. koseli November 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Oooo. You had me at death by suburbs. buying on my kindle tonight!

  5. lauren November 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    This is a terrific collection, one that i have revisited many times over my (probably longer than normal) dating life. Its funny how sympathies for characters change as a reader ages – just like viewings of “When Harry Met Sally”. I am getting married for the first time on Tuesday at age 37. Since the first time I read the book, a line in the last story, akin to “he is the man I never thought to hope for” has been something I knew I wanted to utter in front of friends and family. In searching through my bookshelves last night to ensure I quoted properly, I realized the book never returned home from the last time I lent it to a girlfriend. I bought it for my iPad yesterday, found my quote, and am starting Jane’s journey once again from page one. What a lovely coincidence that you should mention the book today.

    • jillianlorraine November 21, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Ooh. I didn’t even pick up on “he is the man I never thought to hope for.” So beautiful. And congratulations!!

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