by Sukey HowardAugust, 2005
Still hunting and fishing
Melissa Bank's The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing was a wow of a debut novel and her second, The Wonder Spot, is even better. Sophie Applebaum, sandwiched between two outstanding brothers, is 12 when she begins her self-deprecating, funny, sweet, always authentic explication of life her own and her family's. She tells it in episodes, from Hebrew school phobia, through college, to jobs that never satisfy with employers she never satisfies. And through important friendships with women and imperfect relationships with men, who, like her jobs, are never quite right. Yet cynical-optimist Sophie never stops trying to find that perfect mate, to fit in, to find herself. Ms. Bank reads, giving Sophie the voice she's meant to have.