- Series: The Penguin Ink Series
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 29, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143117131
- ISBN-13: 978-0143117131
- ASIN: 0143117130
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,327 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bridget Jones's Diary: A Novel (Penguin Ink) (The Penguin Ink Series) Reprint Edition
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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 the Audio Cassette edition.
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 the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Still, there are highly comic moments, and I'd have to give it to the author for sustaining my interest in the book until the very end.
And yes, if you're wondering if all your favorite scenes from the movie are there in the book, well, the answer is both yes and no. And there are bits and pieces that I found essential to the story that were left out from the movie, but thats no big deal. As a novel, this reads very well, and its satisfying to learn that it will gain renewed attention now that the film version is out.
On another note, when I first read the book, I did not at all picture Bridget the way Renee does her in the film. I saw her more as a plump Toni Collette ('Muriel's Wedding' and 'Emma') or a bloated Kate Winslet ('Sense and Sensibility', and 'Jude'). Also, the Hugh Grant character seems more suave and smooth than Hugh does on film - a Rupert Everett or Jeremy Northam was what I first thought of in this role. However, Bridget's mum is as funny here as she is in the film. What I really love about the entire Bridget Jones Diary madness going around is that the film really compliments the book and is a faithful reproduction, for the most part. If you're a person whos been thinking about reading this book based on the hype thats been circulating, I would urge you to get it now. For once, heres a work of comic writing thats worth your time.
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."
The one thing that does detract, for me, is the incessant inclusion, at the outset of every chapter, of updated data on Bridget's running battle with her weight and waistline. There are occasional comic variations on the theme, but I felt, for the most part, that they were a distraction that I soon came to disregard. Unlike the recipes that commence every chapter of Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate" and have significant symbolic resonance throughout the chapter they introduce, Fielding's chapter-epigraphs in lbs. and calories don't seem to add much to the ongoing story. (What's interesting is that Fielding apparently noticed this while writing the screenplay; in the film, she leaves them out after about the first five minutes, realizing that it was a trick that gets old fast.) But that's not much to complain about.
Overall, I would recommend this book for its humor alone. However, add to that comedy a fairly well-crafted plot that pokes fun at a classic while yet paying it homage and bringing it up to date, and you've got a great, fun read. I totally enjoyed "Bridget Jones's Diary" and hope to read the sequel soon.