Elephant Droppings

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Finished reading this collection of stories by Melissa Hunt last night. As a matter of fact, till the time I finished it, it never struck me that this was a series of short stories with the same central character -- I had been thinking that this was a novel. The stories revolve around the life and acquaintances of Jane Rosenal, an aspiring editor. The effect of each story on me was similar to that of a barbiturate -- the sleep they brought on me was immediate, deep, and nightmare-free. For that, I am grateful to Ms Hunt. Other than that I can't find any good words to speak about it. All characters had the same two-dimensional, made-of-cardboard look. They mouthed the same wisecracking lines over and over, ad nauseum. The book was described as "irreverent, and wickedly funny". I am a sucker for the irreverent, and for the wickedly funny. But this book was neither. Probably the person who wrote the comment was. He or she had some fun at my expense.

The first story is set during the teen years of Jane. It is about a love affair and its subsequent break-up involving Jane's elder brother. The second one is during Jane's youth, when she and her fiance goes for a vacation at a place that belongs to some lady friend of his. The third one involves Archie, the elderly man with whom Jane has two affairs. The next story does not have Jane in it. It is about a neighboring family. The last one is probably the best. It is a run-of-the-mill romantic story: boy meets Jane, they fall in love, Jane does not want to lose him, so plays hard to get, the boy gets tired of these games, finally "all is well that ends well". If that is the best among the lot, you know what to expect of the others.

There were no scenes or lines that really stood out. The book was the literary equivalent of Sunil Shetty's expressionless face. Since I am brimming with goodwill (it is a Friday evening, afterall), I give it a 3 out of a possible 10.

Now I need to cleanse my soul with some beer. Sam Adams, here I come...


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