Day 10 – Unexpected Loves

Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Melissa Bank’s Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing

NPR’s Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes has done a series of funny and insightful articles about what people call “chick lit” and how the label tends to reduce writing by women into a very narrow, undeserved box. I entirely agree with her assessment. As someone who likes to read romance novels occasionally, I get a little defensive about people who look down on “women’s writing.” And this book is part of the reason why.

The first time I read it, I had the same preconceptions on what the story ought to be: A novel about a literary agent in Manhattan trying and failing to find love, peppered with witticisms and ultra-hip whining, drinking of cosmopolitans, et cetera. I actually became a little annoyed when I found out that Girl’s Guide is actually not a full novel so much as a collection of loosely connected narratives. The stories takes us through the lives of these urbane individuals who weren’t immune to heartbreak, cancer, and professional ennui, despite their perfect haircuts and their perfect vacations. But I ended up reading this book again over the years, and I found that I take away something new from it every time. The very last story is my favorite one, and makes reading the whole book actually worth it. It makes a gentle mockery of people looking at self-help books to get them the love of their lives, while at the same time acknowledging the in these modern times, a girl just really wants someone who can help her with the answers.