Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

Picador, 1996, 310 pages, C$10.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-330-37525-3

01/05/2001: 13st8 (Eek! What am I, a bowling ball?), cigarettes 0 (as if), alcohol units 0 (yeah, right), 6/49 tickets 0 (not feeling one-in-fourteen-million special enough), nasty calls from Rogers Video 0 (v.g.), siblings visiting 2, calories stratospheric (shouldn’t have had third slice of pizza. Nor fourth, fifth or sixth one).

L. came in my office again today, complaining about latest dating prospect and wondering whenever she’ll meet Mister Right and if new clothes make her too fat. Did my best impression of a gay best friend, sympathizing with everything she said while personal designs on her neither gay nor simply friendly. Have to wonder how I ended up in this bizarre situation someday, but not today as answer likely to be too depressing.

Thought about L. a lot while finishing Bridget Jones’s Diary, but also about my own situation; young professional still single more by circumstance than choice. Whole book told as year-in-the-life diary of said Bridget Jones, single Londoner with more neuroses than entire Woody Allen oeuvre.

Great book, fun reading, many laugh-out-loud moments. Even though Bridget not brightest bulb, it’s impossible not to really like her, problems and all. Constant metaphorical yearning to hug her and say everything would come out all right. Author Helen Fielding does great job at funny writing with huge drops of honesty. Loved passage about how single friends would rather keep everyone else single than lose their time with them because they’re in relationship.

Had a few problems with the book, though; bunch of coincidences, mostly. Eventually learned that Mr. Darcy character based on similar Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which might explain a lot if ever I end up seeing Pride and Prejudice.

At least book much superior to movie, which stumbled worst when straying away from novel. Major distractions include whole mother subplot, which is nastier in book than film. Unfortunately, this cause movie ending to be far more Hollywoodish than book, which is far more satisfying (“Why did you do it?” “I think it’s obvious.” Perfect!) Whole book generally less formula romance than film, which now feels more contrived than ever. (While book never sends Darcy to New York, there is unfortunately no fist-fight. Oh well.) Interestingly enough, movie/book changes will keep up interest in the book for movie fans.

Writing sharp, fast, hilarious & hypnotically easy to imitate. Fielding has comic genius; some embarrassed glances from other people in the bus after hearing me laughing aloud.

Social significance of Bridget Jones probably worth noting, but too little space here to do so. Ironically enough, Bridget Jones’s Diary could be compared to a female Fight Club, both being about modern social dilemma stemming from doing first thirty years more or less right and then discovering things that parents never told you about. Modern teenhood being pushed back ten-fifteen years? Lack of established social models to deal with modern zeitgeist? Judging from bestseller lists in England and now States, chances are that many many ladies are identifying with Jones. Personal query; where are they all? Like to think of self as being much closer to Darcy than Daniel.

Realize enjoyed Bridget Jones’s Diary a lot despite not being target audience, which leads self to question validity of initial premise. Maybe not as far away from Jones as would like to believe. Eek.

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