“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
Bridget Jones’ s Diary is, I suppose, classed as “chic lit.” I very much do not like chic lit. At the risk of sounding rude, I find such books dull and unchallenging, and I’m just not interested in them. But, for some reason, I found Bridget Jones to be different.
Helen Fielding has created a character that is likeable and realistic, and by using the format of a diary, gives a real insight into the life of a 30 something single woman. When I first read this book I wasn’t 30 something and I wasn’t like Bridget at all – I wasn’t thinking about marriage or children and didn’t hang around with a load of “smug marrieds.” But, still, I identified with her and sympathised with her in many ways – falling for the wrong man, combating vices like smoking and eating too many calories, getting drunk at social gatherings, problems at work, problems with parents… It seems like too much for one character, but really, there will be many people dealing with similar issues, and reading about Bridget brings it all to life in a humorous way.
“Tom has a theory that homosexuals and single women in their thirties have natural bonding: both being accustomed to disappointing their parents and being treated as freaks by society.”
I’m not going to discuss the plot too much here, as I have kind of summed up the motivations behind Bridget’s character already. The basis of the story was both inspired by Fielding’s own life and also the plot of Pride and Prejudice, both of which I think add to the realism of the book and the richness of the characters. From short skirts to vodka, from self help books to an obsession with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, Bridget Jones is anything but dull and unchallenging. I do concede, however, that in some ways now it seems a little bit dated. This wouldn’t spoil my enjoyment of it were I to read it today, but with Fielding writing another sequel, to be released later this year, we will see whether Bridget can truly be updated and brought into the 21st Century.
One last admission should be that I admit this book probably isn’t one that many men would necessarily choose to read, and I can see why, though I would never tell any man not to pick it up and give it a go. Who knows, it could provide someone with that vital insight required to understand the mind of a female, mid 30’s, singleton who enjoys a good night out, mini breaks to the country and dressing inappropriately when attending a party arranged by her parents middle aged friends.
“That is such crap. How dare you be so fraudulently flirtatious, cowardly and dysfunctional? I am not interested in emotional fuckwittage. Goodbye.”