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Bridget Jones’s Diary
Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Helen Fielding
London 1996

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UK Edition: Amazon.co.uk

US Edition:

"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


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