Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)Ugh. The last thing on earth I feel physically, emotionally, or mentally equipped to do is drive to Una and Geoffrey Alconbury's New Year's Day Turkey Curry Buffet in Grafton Underwood.

Weirdly formatted summary from Goodreads: "Meet Bridget Jonesa 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise
Bridget Jones's Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she 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. Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic."

Bridget Jones's Diary is an amusing and very silly read, kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I haven't actually seen the full movie (just clips from it), but I picked up the book from the library (I don't think it's necessarily worth buying). Still, the book is kind of relatable, even if I'm not as stupidly obsessed with other people's opinions as Bridget (or I try not to be). The way she acts is kind of silly, but I can sort of understand her insecurities: after all, she's watching everyone around her rapidly marrying off, and at the age of 30-something, she's still utterly single. Not that that's a bad thing, as she continuously tries to remind herself throughout the novel. Bridget's friends are really funny; they're always advising her on what to do; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But the book is never boring.

Bridget Jones's Diary is definitely chick lit, a genre that I for the most part despise, but in this case, it's not so bad, and rather more endearing. The book is humorously British, and Bridget also has a distinctive voice. It's a diary, so she often uses fragments, which is kind of annoying but very readable. I actually started thinking in fragments right after I read the book, and I quickly got used to the narrative style.

Yes, I realize the story is super silly and not very worthwhile, but that's exactly what guilty pleasures are: books that you're kind of ashamed of enjoying or you think are not worth reading. That's exactly what this book is for me. I don't know if I'll be rereading it, but I definitely enjoyed reading it once, and was glad that I did so. It's good for a few hours of laughter and commiseration.

That said, I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, because the book stands on its own just fine, and I think one book with Bridget is quite enough. Also, I'm pretty sure the sequel is not as good as the first book, and that the third book which is being released soon will be even worse.

There were sections of Bridget Jones's Diary that did get bogged down a bit, but just as it got to be too much, something really funny popped up, like when Bridget talks about communal changing rooms: "There are always girls who know that they look fantastic in everything and dance around beaming, swinging their hair and doing model poses in the mirror saying, 'Does this make me look fat?' to their obligatory obese friend, who looks like a water buffalo in everything" (105). I don't know where Bridget got that from, but it was so hilarious.

Bridget may be a character you can relate to, but she is kind of annoying at times. She gets so flustered about stupid, stupid things and never keeps her resolutions about smoking and drinking (she gets drunk all the time). Bridget certainly isn't the most likable character ever, but she's okay, especially compared to the awful Daniel Cleaver. God, I just hated him.

Anyway, this is a funny book and a light and fun read. It's quick, and good for a lot of laughs.

271 pages.

Rating: ****

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