Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

From Amazon:

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

This was a great book. I'm not normally into the whole 'chic-lit' thing simply because it doesn't really intrigue me, but this book is one that I love. I've seen the movie so I knew what to expect (and I loved it so that probably helped) but what I wasn't expecting was the incredible amount of differences between the book and movie, as well as a suspiciously similar plot line to one of my favourite books. I realized about three quarters of the way through the book that this novel was almost exactly like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Bridget Jones's Diary deals with a Mr. Wickham (Daniel Cleaver), and Mr. Darcy (Mark Darcy), a Lydia (Bridget's mom), and another Mr. Wickham (Julio). As similar as the plot line for this story is to Pride and Prejudice, it also has its differences. It is modern (dur), and Elizabeth Bennet's mom wasn't as much of a twit as Bridget's (amongst other things, but I don't want to spoil it for you). I found no plot holes, the characters extremely well rounded, and the comedy wonderful. I could really relate to Bridget, which is a thing I think all writers strive to achieve, and her way of thinking. I think all women have troubles with body-image (and if they say they don't, they're lying), 'dieting', men, their jobs, families, and basically every day life. I absolutely loved Bridget's character, as well as Mark's. She was so refreshing from the usual 'damsel in distress' type of character you find in chic-lit novels that include a love interest (nearly all). She was independent, but struggled with the whole 'a woman shouldn't need a man to be happy' idea, as well as stereotypes of singles, which she is throughout the majority of the novel. Mark was an extremely great male character. He is definitely one of those men that women would use to compare to real men in their lives, but someone who could also end up being real and not give women extremely ridiculous expectations for men. If you prefer Daniel Cleaver, I think there may be something wrong with you. I also really love the warning on the front of the book below the picture. It reads 'HEALTH WARNING: Adopting Bridget's lifestyle could seriously damage your health.' Which is very true, which anyone who has read this book before will agree with me on. Again, if you don't, I think there may be something wrong with you. This is not because I don't like people who don't agree with me, it's just that it is extremely unhealthy to binge smoke, drink, and diet all at the same time. Overall, I loved this book and would definitely recommend it. This will definitely be re-read in the future.

Quote of the day: Then we had a long discussion about the comparative merits of Mr Darcy and Mark Darcy, both agreeing that Mr Darcy was more attractive because he was ruder but that being imaginary was a disadvantage that could not be overlooked. - Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary