Bridget Jones's Diary: A Novel Paperback – 20 Jun 1997
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In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and "Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way)." In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year's resolution--the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent.
At the beginning of Helen Fielding's exceptionally funny second novel, the thirtyish publishing puffette is suffering from postholiday stress syndrome but determined to find Inner Peace and poise. Bridget will, for instance, "get up straight away when wake up in mornings." Now if only she can survive the party her mother has tricked her into--a suburban fest full of "Smug Marrieds" professing concern for her and her fellow "Singletons"--she'll have made a good start. As far as she's concerned, "We wouldn't rush up to them and roar, 'How's your marriage going? Still having sex?'"
This is only the first of many disgraces Bridget will suffer in her year of performance anxiety (at work and at play, though less often in bed) and living through other people's "emotional fuckwittage." Her twin-set-wearing suburban mother, for instance, suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress, while our heroine herself spends half the time overdosing on Chardonnay and feeling like "a tragic freak." Bridget Jones's Diary began as a column in the London Independent and struck a chord with readers of all sexes and sizes. In strokes simultaneously broad and subtle, Helen Fielding reveals the lighter side of despair, self-doubt, and obsession, and also satirizes everything from self-help books (they don't sound half as sensible to Bridget when she's sober) to feng shui, Cosmopolitan-style. She is the Nancy Mitford of the 1990s, and it's impossible not to root for her endearing heroine. On the other hand, one can only hope that Bridget will continue to screw up and tell us all about it for years and books to come. --Kerry Fried
'Helen Fielding is one of the funniest writers in Britain and Bridget Jones is a creation of comic genius' Nick Hornby
'I cannot recommend a book more joyfully . . . Hilariously funny, miraculously observed, endlessly touching' Jilly Cooper, Daily Telegraph
'The best, the original, the seminal' Mail on Sunday
'A brilliant comic creation. Even men will laugh' Salman Rushdie
'Effortlessly addictive . . . [Bridget Jones's] hilarious diary presents a perfect zeitgeist of single female woes' Sunday Express
‘Wild comedy . . . observed with merciless, flamboyant wit. A gloriously funny book’ Sunday Times
‘A brilliant evocation of life as a single girl in a certain time . . . reads like Anita Loos out of Jane Austen, and any woman who has ever had a job, a relationship or indeed a mother will read it and roar’ The Times
'Bridget Jones's Diary rings with the unmistakable tone of something that is true to the marrow. It defines what it describes' Nicola Shulman, Times Literary Supplement
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The events described invite comments such as Hilarious, Exaggerated, Ridiculous, Outrageous and Exhausting.
One event which made me smile was when Bridget is being quizzed for a post as Commentator on some whacky TV show. It concerns some celebrity English actor who had been arrested for having oral sex with a prostitute in a car parked up somewhere in Hollywood Hills; "Why?" said her interviewer, "Why, three months later, is he still with his equally famous English girlfriend. How did he get away with it?" "Any suggestions Bridget?"
Bridget hesitated and said "Perhaps someone swallowed the evidence?". "Brilliant" said the interviewer and laughed out loud.
I myself never saw the Film but I do remember the lead actress being interviewed by Parkinson, who confronted the audience with a clip from the film in which Bridget is shown in bed with her boyfriend when the phone rings. "Oh! its you Mum". The Film differs somewhat from the Book but the script was also written by the Helen Fielding.
The Book is a "Must Read" and the Film is a "Must Watch".
Fielding manages to satirise and amuse whilst still giving us a main character who is warm, funny, engaging, and amusingly inept without being tiresome. No cringy Bella Swann "I'm so clumsy, isn't it charming?" guff going on here! Bridget is someone we all either know or have been at some point; we can cringe with her parental embarrassment, sympathise with her hangovers, and hope with her for a relationship and not being eaten by an Alsatian.
Still one of the funniest, most enjoyable, and (deservedly) best known chick-lit heroines, Bridget is a welcome addition to my Kindle.
The film adaptation of the book has stayed very close to the story in the book, so if you have seen the film (as I have), you will already know how the story goes; despite this, I still really enjoyed reading it. Bridget Jones's Diary is funny and heart-warming and the title character's observations of day-to-day life are very close-to-the-mark, so much so that I had to smile at the number of times her diary entries reflected my own opinions and experiences. Bridget is very down to earth and her worries and insecurities are an echo of those experienced by women of all ages.
Well worth the purchase price, will now progress to Edge of Reason!