Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
What the Back of the Book Has to Say:
A dazzling urban satire of modern human relations?
An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family?
Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something?
Why I Picked It Up:
What I Think:
Bridget Jones has long been one of my favorite novels of all time. Of course, if you ask me what my favorite novels are, I'll say something like Pride and Prejudice or Lord of the Rings or Snow Falling on Cedars. I definitely have a wide and varied taste on this sort of thing. However, when it comes right down to it, I think I have read Bridget Jones at least fifty times and it never gets old.
Bridget Jones is about as close to perfect as any chick lit novel can come. Bridget is a wonderful heroine: she makes mistakes but she is always endearing. She never really learns her lesson but stands up for herself when she needs to. Her diets never succeed nor do her attempts to give up self help books. She is simultaneously worried for and annoyed by her mother and second guesses herself constantly. Basically, she's a regular girl and incredibly relatable.
The novel is a modern take on the Pride and Prejudice story and if you've only ever seen the movie, I suggest you also read the book because the similarities are even more noticeable in the novel. It's a quick read: it will maybe take you all of a day, if you take frequent breaks. It's broken up into months as it is, as the title states, a series of diary entries. Even the entries that don't pertain to the plot are a delight to read as an insight to the mind of a thirty-something in the mid-ninties. Of course, due to the time period it was written in, a few things do seem a bit dated but it's easily overlooked.
I always come out of a reread wanting to be Bridget's best friend and writing in her diary style for a few days afterwards. She has abbreviations and turns of phrases that are very her and will stick in your head for awhile. I applaud Helen Fielding for creating a character where you really feel like you're in her headspace. It's very easy to understand Bridget's point of view at any time and the writing style is a big part of that.
If you've only ever seen the movies, I really encourage you to read both the original and the sequel, The Edge of Reason. I know the second movie isn't very good but I assure you that the book is quite the opposite. While the first movie follows the book pretty faithfully (with a few missing plotlines), the second movie is almost nothing like the book and the book really is much better. Bridget has a stalker! Bridget interviews Colin Firth! Trust me, it's just as good as the first novel.
It is very hard to write about books you love to death objectively in this blog format so I think I'm going to stop while I'm ahead, before this turns into me gushing "It's really just so good!" as I tend to do. If you like chick lit, then I promise that you'll find something to like in Bridget Jones. It's a light read but definitely worth it.