Tuesday, April 20, 2010


'Animal Husbandry'
By Laura Zigman

Format: Paperback
Published: Arrow Books; 1998
Pages: 320

Synopsis: Jane Goodall, not the anthropologist, but rather a bright, thirtysomething Manhattan talk-show producer who is no novice to romance, staggers under the weight of being cruelly, inexplicably dumped by Ray, the man of her dreams. Nearly paralyzed by this betrayal, she becomes a self-appointed amateur scientist, studying the mating habits of the animal kingdom to make sense of her senseless human world. Jane's best friends, magazine executive Joan and David, a gay freelance fashion photographer, commiserate, having been dumped by any number of perfect men themselves. Jane's hilarious, poignant observations lead her to her New Cow/Old Cow theory as observed in the bovine population as soon as a fledgling love interest (New Cow) becomes a familiar and known quantity, she is relegated to Old Cow status, and the hunt is on for fresh bait. Jane is able to parlay her wildlife studies into a hugely successful (if short-lived) magazine column.

My Take: I picked this book up on a whim at a used book sale because on the book I own it says 'A transatlantic Bridget Jones' Diary' and you don't need to tell me much other praise to get me to pick up a book, I freaking loved BJD!

Was it on the same level as BJD? Eh not so much. Was it different then anything else I've read?Yes, definitely, but in a somewhat gimmicky fashion. Here's the thing, every chapter starts with a 'scientific' statement that prefaces the chapter and what might happen having to do with a man: Bull; woman he is currently dating: Old Cow; or new woman he wants to date: New Cow. At first this was funny, eventually it became trite.

I think this might have been because the heroine of the novel, Jane, was hard for me to feel a lot of compassion for. She was in her early 30s and started to date a man who was engaged to a woman. Engaged, I tell you! Then he wanted to move in with her but didn't want to break it off with the woman he was engaged with. When all hell broke loose and he no longer wanted to date her, she was shocked. Seriously? You are far too old to know better. I get it, love is blind. I know this, but come on, she knew before she ever even dated him that he was engaged. Oh and did I mention that they worked together? I mean there were way too many strikes against him to even seem as a viable option to date, no matter how scarce they say men are in NYC.

The book does get better once it moves from there when she moves in with her coworker Eddie. He is a bit of a chauvinist but they play off each other well and it helps to make Jane grow up a lot.

Ok so, beyond all that, I'll give the author credit. The storyline came up with a cute method for telling the story, which some people may find entertaining and not everyone is as frustrated with poor relationship choices as I am so you can give it a try. All I am saying is if you look at the facts ahead of time you may not have to do an intense scientific study :)

Also, this book spawned the movie Someone Like You with Ashley Judd which I remember liking. Now I kinda want to rewatch the movie!

(I bought this book at a book sale)


  1. I remember the movie...it has been a long time since I watched it. I do remember enjoying it. Based on your review I'm not sure I have to rush out to read the book but it might be nice to read it and then re-watch the movie.

  2. That sounds freaking annoying!! The start-of-the-chapter thing, I mean!

    I am with you. Anytime a book mentions BJD or features a blurb by Jennifer Weiner, I am sold. Immediately.

  3. I remember this story! I had to check the top of the post and sure enough, the pub date is not recent. And then when you got to the movie title mention - I loved that movie! no wonder the story sounds familiar.


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