"Saturday 12 August
9st 3 (still in very good cause), alcohol units 23 (v.g.),
cigarettes 32 (v.v. bad, particularly since first day of giving
up), calories 1800 (g.), Instants 4 (fair), …1471 calls 22 (OK)…"
A woman whose daily success and failure rate is documented by
counts of calories consumed, alcohol units imbibed, cigarettes
smoked, Lottery Instants bought and times dialled 1471, Bridget
Jones is the thirty something we are all frightened of becoming.
Or know that we have already become.
Written by Helen Fielding, based on her columns in The Independent
newspaper, this is a novel based on a year in Bridget’s diary
life. January starts Exceptionally Badly with the over-drinking,
eating, and chain smoking necessitated by the annual visit to
her parents and their neighbours’ Turkey Curry Buffet. Bridget
is subjected to the usual quiz as to why she is still single at
thirty something and is set up with the divorced son who sports
the unfortunate combination of diamond patterned sweater and white
socks with bumbelee motif.
February finds Bridget stumbling through a catalogue of disasters
centred around a painful crush on her boss, who turns out to
be into ’emotional fuckwittage’. Swinging from true love to utter
devastation at the state of her imperfect relationship, Bridget
has to run the gauntlet at ‘Smug Marrieds’ dinner parties. Fortunately
she is supported wholeheartedly in her quest to be a proud singleton
(in between boyfriends). Ever-present best friends Jude, Shazzer
and fag-hag Tom are always happy to oblige for crisis meetings
in the nearest wine bar to sink a couple of bottles of wine and
shout ‘BASTARD!’ at the appropriate moment.
Coupled with relationships, pregnancy scares, Severe Birthday-Related
Thirties panic and new job problems is the dealing-with-Parents’-mid-life
crisis. Bridget’s mother becomes an ongoing embarrassment when
she takes on a new career to become a TV celebrity and attempts
to transform Bridget from her lowly job in publishing to the glamorours
world of TV.
The self doubts, disgraces, highs, victories and disasters of
Bridget Jones’s life provide a hilarious catalogue which is over
the top but close to the bone. Our laughter is fuelled by our
own painful memories. We’ve all been there. We just wish that
we could be half as funny when we recount it to our diaries.
Reviewed by Lara Burns