Picks and Pans Review: Animal Husbandry
by Laura Zigman
The story is simple and way too familiar: Girl meets boy, boy dumps girl. You could cry over it, or rage against men, but Laura Zigman does neither. In her slight, charming first novel she siphons off the tears and the curses and by alchemy converts them into laughter. The trick is adopting a zoological take on human behavior, with special emphasis on what she calls "New-Cow theory": When it comes to mating, bulls like fresh bait.
Our heroine is 30-year-old Jane Goodall, and like the scientist of the same name her best research is done in the field. A former magazine editorial assistant, Jane now works for a TV talk show in New York City. So does Ray—he of the "J. Crew-model-bone-structure" and "washboard stomach." Two weeks into their affair, Ray is saying, "I love you"; three months later he's gone.
When she's almost done weeping, Jane hits the books, scavenging scientific explanations for the mating habits of single guys. She turns up entertaining, X-rated tidbits about hamsters and lemurs and banana slugs. Seeking roundabout revenge, she adopts a pen name and cranks out articles for a men's magazine. But she never learns the secret: how to turn the animal into a husband. (Dial, $22.95)
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