Bridget Jones’s Diary
By Helen Fielding
Paperback, 271 pages
2010, Penguin (Ink edition!)
Bridget Jones decides to start a diary in order to track her progress in weight loss (specifically thigh circumference), quitting smoking, drinking less and finding a man (with no emotional fuckwittage!), as she’s tired of being a thirty-something singleton.
Pretty sure you’ve all at least heard of this book and likely seen the movie. I originally read it back in high school and was recently reminded of its existence when a friend of mine began, rather obsessively, watching the movie over and over. I decided a re-read was in order, in preparation for buddy reading the second book with said friend, and I’m so happy I picked this up again.
BJD is refreshingly funny – despite the fact that I’m no longer a singleton (and perhaps never was) and I don’t understand many of the Britain-specific references Bridget makes, I still found her to be refreshingly relatable. I laughed more times than I can count while reading this book. As a woman, I can understand Bridget’s struggles with self-image and weight gain/loss. Her brutal honesty and blunt wit solidify her as a character and made me want to be friends with her (even though she would consider me a Smug Married now).
Like many women, Bridget longs for a man with no emotional fuckwittage, yet pursues the complete opposite when she has a fling with her boss, Daniel. Then there’s Mark Darcy, the stoic, awkward family friend that her mother keeps throwing her at every chance she gets. Here runs the parallel with Pride and Prejudice, which BJD pays homage to. Daniel is the sexy, daring, scandalous (and untrustworthy!) Wickham, while Mark is…well…Darcy! I, of course, always root for Darcy, especially because I will forever picture Mark Darcy as Colin Firth.
I like that Fielding plays with her P&P references by having Bridget comment on the fact that Mark Darcy is snobbish and standoffish at a party, much like his classic namesake, which she finds utterly ridiculous.
There are certainly a few large differences in plot between the book and movie. Overall, I prefer the book, but I do still love both. I think the book has a better climax and ending though, especially where it concerns Bridget’s relationship with Darcy – the book has many more parallels to P&P, so naturally I love that.
Books with a diary format always make me yearn to pick up a notebook and chronicle my own life, but I fear it wouldn’t be even a sliver as interesting or funny as Bridget’s (not to mention I’m way too lazy to measure my thighs or count calories), so I’ll leave it to the pros. Looking forward to finally reading the second book (which will hopefully be far superior to the movie)! By the way, this Penguin Ink edition is the best and if you’re into romantic comedies, I think you should pick this up!