I recently picked up The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing from my book-shelf for a re-read. Because my brain is practically a sieve, I’m a great candidate for book re-reading. I never remember anything other than whether or not I liked it. And even though it had been 10 years since I had last picked this book up, I knew that I had liked it.
When I first read The Girls’ Guide in 2004, there was one part that really stuck with me. A boyfriend of the protagonist, Jane, tells her that Dante’s version of hell was proximity without intimacy. At 22 I became totally obsessed with this notion. I started writing short stories and poems based on this theme. I encouraged my artist friends to do the same in their own mediums. We fantasised out loud about putting on a life-changing exhibit. Nothing came of this, of course, other than a journal full of bad poetry. Hell is proximity without intimacy. I just loved that idea. I think it may be why I held on to this book and packed around to all my various homes and cities over the last 10 years. I’m glad I did though, it was a pretty good re-read.
While I do not read to book-name-drop, I wouldn’t go bragging to my literary-snob friends that this was the last book I read or that I totally loved it. It’s about women and life and relationships and that kind of thing. The plot is predictable and simple, but has enough content and unexpectedness to be interesting. The writing is easy to read but still beautiful. And Jane is the classic smart-chick-lit heroine: complicated, but not so much so that you can’t read the book in a weekend.
Overall….Great read for vacation/beach/commute!