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Bridget Jones's Diary [Paperback]

Helen Fielding
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,196 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 1999 014028009X 978-0140280098

The #1 national bestseller by Helen Fielding, author of the new novel Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (October 2013)

Bridget Jones's Diary
is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud account of a year in the life of a thirty-something Singleton on a permanent doomed quest for self-improvement. Caught between the joys of Singleton fun, and the fear of dying alone and being found three weeks later half eaten by an Alsatian; tortured by Smug Married friends asking, "How's your love life?" with lascivious, yet patronizing leers, Bridget resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult and learn to program the VCR. With a blend of flighty charm, existential gloom, and endearing self-deprecation, Bridget Jones's Diary has touched a raw nerve with millions of readers the world round. Read it and laugh—before you cry, "Bridget Jones is me!"

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Editorial Reviews Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

A huge success in England, this marvelously funny debut novel had its genesis in a column Fielding writes for a London newspaper. It's the purported diary, complete with daily entries of calories consumed, cigarettes smoked, "alcohol units" imbibed and other unsuitable obsessions, of a year in the life of a bright London 30-something who deplores male "fuckwittage" while pining for a steady boyfriend. As dogged at making resolutions for self-improvement as she is irrepressibly irreverent, Bridget also would like to have someone to show the folks back home and their friends, who make "tick-tock" noises at her to evoke the motion of the biological clock. Bridget is knowing, obviously attractive but never too convinced of the fact, and prone ever to fear the worst. In the case of her mother, who becomes involved with a shady Portuguese real estate operator and is about to be arrested for fraud, she's probably quite right. In the case of her boss, Daniel, who sends sexy e-mail messages but really plans to marry someone else, she's a tad blind. And in the case of glamorous lawyer Mark Darcy, whom her parents want her to marry, she turns out to be way off the mark. ("It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It's like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting 'Cathy!' and banging your head against a tree.") It's hard to say how the English frame of reference will travel. But, since Bridget reads Susan Faludi and thinks of Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon as role models, it just might. In any case, it's hard to imagine a funnier book appearing anywhere this year. Major ad/promo; first serial to Vogue; BOMC and QPB main selections; simultaneous Random House audio; author tour. (July) FYI: A movie is in the works from Working Title, the team that produced Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014028009X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140280098
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to get noticed! April 15, 2001
While most people will read this book because of the movie version starring Renee Zellweger, its important to remember that the book has been around for quite a bit of time, and that its essential reading even if you have seen the film.
The problem with reading a book AFTER you've seen the movie version is that you undeniably relive the scenes with the cinematic players in mind. Luckily, my time with this book was spent before the film opened and I was able to appreciate Helen's attempts at comedy with a better perspective on what she was trying to do - create a female character so flawed and jinxed, that it was impossible but to fall in love with her.
I must say that some of the scenes here read funnier than when they made it to film. But to give it credit, the movie version excelled in portions that were more or less underplayed in the book - the blue soup incident, and the mom-on-TV segments especially. However, I must say that the quality of language and the author's writing style here are wonderful and quite exceptional. Rarely has there been a book that makes you want to meet the lead character, but this one does just fine on that count.
The only concern I had is that while Bridget Jones's Diary is a journal that takes you through a girl's life in a year, the movie seemed to be more a collection of little vignettes, focussing less on the diary itself - though in the end, its the diary that brings her happiness and the man she loves. Readers may find the climax a bit silly (it looks even more contrived on film) but keep in mind this was written for twenty-somethings looking for a way to pass their time on a lonely weeknight, and not for aspiring professors of literature.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick, Fun, Hilariously Enjoyable Read! June 10, 2001
I was sort of dragged to see this film the night it came out, but I ended up enjoying it immensely. Of course, I had to buy the book next, and it kept me company on a long cross-country flight. With all the humor of Nick Hornby, the self-deprecation of Woody Allen, and a plot borrowed from a classic, Fielding's narrative moves quickly and surely; always funny and ever-endearing, Bridget Jones's attempts to move from insecure singleness make for an engaging and hilarious read.
The humor of "Bridget Jones's Diary" is its strongest quality. From the exchange between Bridget and her boss, Daniel, regarding the absence-due-to-sick-leave of Bridget's apparently too-short skirt, to the Tarts and Vicars fiasco, there's a lot to laugh at in this book. Fielding does funny well, but she's also good for a pithy rejoinder in the Cruelty Department; the American woman Bridget catches her man Daniel with says, as Bridget is leaving, "I thought you said she was thin." Ouch.
Some of the reviews here have bashed "Bridget" for ripping off Austen, which is a little unfair. Rewrites like this are nothing new--see Jean Rhys' "Wide Sargasso Sea," which updates "Jane Eyre," or David Lodge's "Nice Work," which does ditto for Gaskell's "North and South," or Peter Carey's "Jack Maggs," a skewed perspective on "Great Expectations." Fielding's contribution to this growing genre (the nineteenth-century rewrite) is more openly self-aware than some, and she allows herself and Bridget to have an awful lot of fun with "Pride and Prejudice," even pointing comically to other versions of this classic, like the BBC series. I don't see this in the least as a detractor from one's enjoyment of "Bridget Jones.
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96 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts so good May 15, 1999
This book has received some of the most vicious and petty reviews of any in recent history. Of course if Fielding had been a man, she would have been universally appluaded for her exhuberent wit and candor and entertainment skills. As a woman she is ripe for marginilization and outright crucifixtion. How sad that we as a culture havent evolved to a sense of humor about ourselves as women -- that every heroine must be living alone and loving it, performing neurosurgery for charity, or ladling soup to ophans unless she is to be praised. The fact that this book rocketed to the bestseller list and stayed there speaks for itself. I found it fun, hilarious, fresh, charming and a great read -- bridget is self deprecating, doesnt claim to be mother theresa or ghandi. why must we wish that on her? nick hornby wrote with wit and irreverence about his sex life and everyone just about broke a leg trying to deify him (I love him too) but helen fielding is being skewered with red hot needles, and I'm not sure why. she wrote a comic novel, not a sequel to The Feminine Mystique. So what? And it may be true that this book doesnt hit everyone's mirth spot -- then why not just ignore it? why go out of one's way to throw poison darts? I think I know why. It's called Jealousy, and it's been aorund since the beginning of time. Ms Fielding deserves not derision, but applause -- for a sharply honed novel and for starting a Bad girl trend that moves away from the banal let's not-offend-anyone-or-tell-too-many-truths claptrap that female writers seem doomed to. Helen? I say write another book, make it even more shocking and irreverent, and send your critics a superbly wrapped lemon they can suck on. I thought her plot was skillfill and would make a terrific film, especilly the finale. Loved it, and that doesn;t make me a mindless idiot. It makes me human.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book
2:48 am could not put the book down. So tired, but worth reading it. Can't wait to read the other 2 books.
Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars so funny
Literally such a page turner. I was bummed to see it end! Can't wait to read more in the next book
Published 1 month ago by Heather Jelstrom
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and fun read
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years and haven’t read the book or seen the movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary is the story of a single woman in her... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cecile Sune
3.0 out of 5 stars First time I'd rate the movie better than book
Actually the movie was funnier. Books can make me laugh so hard I cry wirh their vivid words and this book made me chuckle a bit. Read more
Published 1 month ago by weasle88
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
Bridget Jones is the sum of all pre-married, pre-kids, post-twenties women. The only reason she goes to work is to flirt with her hot-yet-slimy boss, and the only time she cooks... Read more
Published 2 months ago by nikki ahrens
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I got to read this before the movie came out
In honor of International Chick Lit Month (May 2014), I've decided to list my favorite chick lit books, one per day, on my Twitter account for the next 31 days. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Christine Duval, Author of POSITIVELY MINE, a story of friendship, secrets, and redemption
4.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious and self deprecating book
Short Blurb:

This book is written in the form of a sometimes self deprecating, humiliating, hilarious personal diary covering one year. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ryann Dannelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the movie
Unfortunately, I did watch the movie first and liked it. The book read like the movie (even though I was told it was MUCH different), however the book did not really have an end,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Party
1.0 out of 5 stars First book I have not finished in a decade.
Wow. I pick this up at our library book sale as I'd seen it on many "must read" lists. I got about half way through. I guess I'm just too old chick lit. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ann M.
5.0 out of 5 stars I never get tired of reading this
This book changed female literature in the 90's by heralding the onslaught of "chicklit." Bridget Jones is an endearing less than perfect heroine who muddles through single... Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. Mills
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