Laura Zigman Animal Husbandry

ISBN 13: 9780385319003

Animal Husbandry

3.3 avg rating
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9780385319003: Animal Husbandry

Hers began as a simple Cow meets Bull story: she, Jane Goodall (no, not the Jane Goodall) was the single, overachieving prime-time talk show producer with her heart on the shelf; Ray was the young executive producer with the J. Crew good looks and, it seemed, a love life as lonely as Jane's.  They met for drinks, fell in love (so she thought), and looked together for an apartment.  Then suddenly, inexplicably, in only the third month of their post-copulatory phase, Ray Brown was gone.  Not gone gone, but lost to a jungle of unreturned phone calls and unrequited love.  

When Jane, suddenly homeless, reluctantly moves in with Eddie Alden, her swaggering, womanizing coworker, she finds herself in the belly of the beast itself--the alpha male--and discovers, too, that she's not alone in the vast pasture of the brokenhearted.  With a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species in one hand and a notebook in the other, Jane sets up base camp at Eddie's and begins her research--on Eddie's bizarre chase and flee rituals, on the always unlucky pairings of her best friends, David and Joan, and on her own love affair with Ray--all in a desperate attempt to unlock the mysterious methods of the male animal.  

Soon Jane has stacks of theories and a budding career as a pseudonymous sexual behaviorist.  But conclusions, of course, prove elusive as love itself, and nothing is as simple as it seems in this whip smart, hilariously funny, and wonderfully wise debut novel about men, women, and the strange taxonomy of the human heart.

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Review:

Laura Zigman's literary skirmish in the ongoing battle of the sexes is based on a singularly unoriginal observation: the tendency of human males to love 'em and leave 'em, uh, apes the behavior of nearly every other male animal on Earth. If bulls refuse to mate with an "Old Cow," why should women be surprised when they're thrown over? The veracity of this (sexist? sure!) idea aside, Zigman tells the story of jilted Jane Goodall wittily and winningly. Any excess of feminine venom is offset by the suspicion that Zigman is speaking from painful experience. And if she's not, it's a testament to the effectiveness of Animal Husbandry that it's so easy to think so. Here's a taste:

In the metamorphosis from Cow to New Cow, the Current-Cow sob story is an important phase: "I know we just met, but did I happen to mention how sad, miserable, misunderstood, and lonely I've been my whole life?"
This is crucial to introducing the myth of male shyness and the poor-guy persona--common disguises for a wolf in sheep's clothing. "You're so easy to talk to, not like my Current Cow."
Animal Husbandry is likely to be a good, cathartic read for anyone who's been dumped (and who hasn't?). Obviously, male readers will require a thick skin--or at least a sense of humor. But even the most sensitive males will recognize the grain of truth that creates this pearl of break-up literature.

From the Publisher:

"[If] a little laughter can help mend a broken heart or strengthen a healthy one, then Animal Husbandry should be on reading lists of all the old cows and, for that matter, the old bulls out there, roaming the lonely grazing fields of love."
--Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

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