By Robert Lee
Published by the Lyons Press
Copyright © 1997
Donnie Phillips is a Montana Fly Fishing guide. When he is working he is fishing, but unlike some when he isn’t working he is probably still fishing. With the urging of some of his fellow guides and a New York transplant named Elliot, Donnie decides to chronicle his fishing season for a New York City Fly Fishing Club’s Newsletter. What they will learn is that old Donnie is having a rough year. He gets a nickname that he doesn’t particularly care for, he starts to lose some of his usual customers to another guide, Hank, who is originally from California, he loses his job, and his wife and a Vermont lawyer named Beth want to turn his land into a bed & breakfast for female fly-fishers.
Guiding Elliot is told from the viewpoint of Donnie as he writes his letters to the Fly Fishing Newsletter. Donnie is an endearing character who loves to fish and fight, though he isn’t as good at these things as he thinks is. As you progress through this story you realize that Donnie has a unique grasp of the English language and he can be quite chauvinistic, but you will also learn that Donnie has a heart of gold. Under his rough exterior you find a man who is simple, talented, and cares about others. My only complaint with Donnie is his bad taste in Beer – Pabst Blue Ribbon, Really!!?? Guiding Elliot is an entertaining novel with a protagonist that you can really get behind in his failures and successes. It should appeal to lovers of the outdoors whether they are men or women.