Aside from Bridget's self-deprecating voice, her fruitless attempts at self-improvement, her friends, her mother, her job, her boss...the great fun of this book is to find its parallel points with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Here, for example, is Bridget's first impression of Mark Darcy — "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...banging your head against a tree.
A LitLovers LitPick (Aug. ' 07)
Bridget Jones's diary has made her the best friend of hundreds of thousands of women who recognize her closet drawers crammed with a fury of black opaque pantyhose twisted into ropelike tangles as their own. An unforgettably droll character.
The New York Times
[The book is] the sort of cultural artifact that is recognizably larger than itself.... [It] sits so lightly on the reader that it is easy to overlook the skill with which it has been assembled.
Daphne Merkin - The New Yorker
Bridget's voice is dead-on...[and] will cause readers to drop the book, grope frantically for the phone and read it out loud to their best girlfriends.
[W]ith satirical glee...and sharp, laugh-out-loud observations of contemporary life...Bridget Jones's Diary charts a year in the life of an unattached woman in her 30s.
San Francisco Chronicle
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 Portugese 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.
In the course of one year, Bridget Jones will consume 11,090,265 calories, smoke 5,277 cigarettes, and write a series of delightfully funny diary entries. This will be no ordinary year in the life of this single, on-the-cusp-of-30 Londoner. She's going to keep at least one New Year's resolution, have dates with two boyfriends, create legendary cooking disasters, and be seen on national TV going up a firehouse pole instead of the planned dramatic slide down. If that isn't enough, her mom is getting a new career as the host of the TV program 'Suddenly Single' and will disappear with a Portugese gigolo. Supported by friends and confused by family, Bridget emerges, if not triumphant, at least hopeful about life and love. Already a best seller in Britain and winner of the "Publishing News" Book of the Year Award, this book should be equally popular in the United States. —Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., NC
This juicy diary tells the truth with a verve as appealing to men on Mars as it is to Venusian women.
Newspaper columnist Fielding's first effort, a bestseller in Britain, lives up to the hype. This year in the life of a single woman is closely observed and laugh-out-loud funny. Bridget, a thirtysomething with a mid-level publishing job, tempers her self-loathing with a giddy (if sporadic) urge toward self-improvement: Every day she tallies cigarettes smoked, alcohol units consumed, and pounds gained or lost. At Una Alconbury's New Year's Day Turkey Curry Buffet, her parents and their friends hover as she's introduced to an eligible man, Mark Darcy. Mark is wearing a diamond-patterned sweater that rules him out as a potential lust object, but Bridget's reflexive rudeness causes her to ruminate on her own undesirability and thus to binge on chocolate Christmas-tree decorations. But in the subsequent days, she cheers herself up with fantasies of Daniel, her boss's boss, a handsome rogue with an enticingly dissolute air. After a breathless exchange of e-mail messages about the length of her skirt, Daniel asks for her phone number, causing Bridget to crown herself sex goddess. until she spends a miserable weekend staring at her silent phone. By chanting "aloof, unavailable ice-queen" to herself, she manages to play it cool long enough to engage Daniel's interest, but once he's her boyfriend, he spends Sundays with the shades pulled watching cricket on TV and is quickly unfaithful. Meanwhile, after decades of marriage, her mother acquires a bright orange suntan, moves out of the house, and takes up with a purse-carrying smoothie named Julio. And so on. Bridget navigates culinary disasters, mood swings, and scary publishing parties; she cares for her parents, talks endlessly with her cronies, and maybe, just maybe, hooks up with a nice boyfriend. Fielding's diarist raises prickly insecurities to an art form, turns bad men into good anecdotes, and shows that it is possible to have both a keen eye for irony and a generous heart.
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