Bridget Jones’s Diary
Price: Available in paperback from as cheap as £1.99 and as an e-book for the same price.
Summary: A narrative in the form of the diary extracts of a 30 something year old single woman living in London searching for love and the perfect body with lose parallels to ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Review: I have to admit that I had seen the film before I read the book. In fact I’ve seen both films and have tickets to see the latest film on Friday. I felt guilty that I hadn’t read the book so whilst books of the genre aren’t usually what I would pick in a book shop (unlike my taste in films) I gave Bridget Jones’s Diary ago and really enjoyed it. The modern prose made light relief after having just read the ‘Moonstone’ by Wilkie Collins. Furthermore, Fielding is one of the first author’s to have made me laugh out loud whilst reading. My only criticism of reading the novel would be that it has dated somewhat. For someone who has been using a computer since they were 2, has had a mobile phone since they were 10 and hasn’t used a video player since the same age some events such as the inability of Bridget and her friends to record television on their video recorders seemed strange and un-relatable. Likewise the use of 1471 is obsolete in a world where smart phones reveal the callers identity which was another technological reference which has become outdated. However, these criticisms are not really fair since the book is about being single in a specific period of time, the 90s, and in this context these references make the narrative more believable and for older readers I would have thought far more realistic.
Fielding’s use of the diary to tell her narrative brings the central character Bridget alive in far more ways than the film is able to do. The reader is exposed to Bridget’s inner thoughts, her doubts, her wants and her insecurities which makes her not only a likeable character but tantalisingly real. The use of recording Bridget’s smoking habits, her weight and calorie intake at the beginning of each diary excerpt is highly original and is a reminder of the pressures of the modern beauty ideals. Bridget’s obsession with her weight and desire to lose weight is surely relatable for many women, it certainly was for me. When Bridget finally does attain her desired weight her friends all profess that she looked better before, which is not only comical but a really great insight into our bizarre perceptions of our bodies and society’s beauty standards by Fielding. The really great thing about the diary entries was that they did not feel forced, I truly believed that I was actually reading Bridget’s diary rather than Fielding’s narrative.
The plot was also full of surprises. I opened the book expecting to find a fairly cliched love story. However, I was wrong. ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is of course about romance because Bridget’s diary is an account of her love life just as much as her everyday life but it is also about so much more. Bridget’s mother is a fairly important character in the book and the relationship between Bridget and her is explored in great depth which highlights the importance of parental influence in our lives. The novel is also about self discovery as Bridget spends much of her time being single and learning to enjoy being herself, something which I’m sure many people could benefit from learning too. There are also strong illusions to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ thought the book, which readers of both novels would recognise and provides for a more in-depth and interesting read. These allusions to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ also serve as a reminder that Fielding like Austen is writing about the society in which she lives and the norms which are associated with being single and romance. This is a light hearted read but it is also a depiction of the modern world in which we live.
In short, Bridget Jones was comical, entertaining but also enlightening. Bridget’s problems were relatable and caused the reader to think about their own lives and the modern world if they wished to. However, should you wish to just read a light hearted romance you will also be satisfied in reading ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’. The book is so much better than the film and the events of the narrative were different from the film so you need not worry that you already know what happens.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it too? How do you think it compares to the film? Have you read the sequel? Please comment and let me know, I’d love to discuss your ideas too!