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Cannonball Read IV: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

By Baxlala | Book Reviews | November 16, 2012 | Comments ()


bridgetjones.jpg

This is the book that launched a thousand chick lit novels, which I sort of hate myself for even saying because the term "chick lit" makes me want to gouge out my own eyes, as well as the eyes of whoever invented it, but, well, this book is responsible for every book since that follows the "girl-meets-guy-hates-guy-falls-for-scoundrel-oh-wait-first-guy-isn't-so-bad-after-all" model.

Full disclosure: I have read this book approximately 1.7 billion times so it's impossible for me to be objective about it. I usually end up reading it either right before or right after reading or watching Pride & Prejudice, or I suddenly have to read it because I heard "It's Raining Men" somewhere (you're welcome for that clip).

There was a time, back in college, when I first read this book, that I thought I'd end up much like Bridget Jones, single well into my 30s, still drinking too much and eating too much and, you know, making bad decisions re: career, lovelife, etc. Somehow I found someone who doesn't mind (even enjoys!) dealing with my nonsense, but though I'm not still stuck in the dating world (thank god), I still identify with Bridget's crazy shenanigans, mostly because, if I ever got to interview Colin Firth (um, spoiler alert for the 2nd book), I'd behave exactly as Bridget did. Or worse.

Anyway! That's in the second book! Why am I talking about that? Good question! Let's move on.

Bridget Jones's Diary, for those who don't know, is a book about a 30-something woman named Bridget Jones (duh) who keeps a diary (double duh) for a year, meaning we get an inside look at all of her trials and embarrassments and deep, dark thoughts.

It's also based on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, which is why there's a character named Mark Darcy, who is played by Colin Firth in the movie and Colin Firth, as everyone should know, IS Mr. Darcy because of that one time he was in the BBC Pride & Prejudice miniseries that aired a million years ago but it doesn't even matter how long ago it was, Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy which is just too bad for him, isn't it? I mean, he's an Oscar winner now. He played a king! But no, he'll always be that super cross, prideful son-of-a-bitch from two hundred years ago.

For whatever reason, when a friend and I first read Bridget Jones's Diary, we latched onto it like...I don't know, something that really likes another thing. We read the book and then saw the movie and then watched the P&P miniseries and we once spent like an hour in the bathroom of our dorm drunkenly discussing how dreamy Mr. Darcy is. I wish I could remember that conversation but I can't (I'm sure it was a real brain-burner), though I did have some evidence of it the next morning, because we'd drunk-emailed some friends and those emails contained the following sentences:

"Mr. Darcy is a harthrap."

and

"Mr. Darcy is the hit of my pants."

I've never been prouder of anything I've ever written. Why WOULDN'T you want to read a book that led to those sentences? Just in case you're still on the fence, though, here are some great things about this book that don't involve Mr. Darcy:

1. Daniel Cleaver
2. The term "emotional fuckwittage"
3. Bridget's dad
4. Bridget's friends
5. It's a really quick read, and you know how busy you are
6. Mr. Darcy I'M SORRY I CAN'T STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM I MEAN LOOK HOW CROSS HE IS:

colin-firth-460_1212763c.jpg

Also, as fun bonus trivia, Bridget's friend Tom in the movie is played by James Callis, who later played Dr. Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. So. Make of that what you will.

My point is, you should read this, with a cocktail or seven, and then you should watch the movie and THEN you should read and watch Pride & Prejudice, just to get the entire experience.

OK? v.g.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it, and find more of Baxlala's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

(Header image by Tara McPherson for Penguin Books.)


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Kitty2000

    I remember when my flatmate first read this book she assured me she WAS Bridget Jones. She lent it to me afterwards and I became convinced that I WAS Bridget Jones. That is the charm of the book, she is everywoman. That being said, I haven't read it since (around 15 years or so) and intend to rectify this situation immediately, if not sooner.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    My mom, my sister and me were all GLUED to "Pride and Prejudice" when it first aired. Then my mom, my sister and me all read "Bridget Jones's Diary". Then my mom, my sister and me all breathlessly anticipated the movie, and when Mr. Mark Darcy tells Bridget he likes he just as she is, we all SCREAMED.

    Because fuck Brad Pitt. Emotionally stunted pretty vampires will never compare to the totally heart-warping inception that was Colin Firth's Darcys in the 90s.

  • baxlala

    YES. To all of the above, but especially "fuck Brad Pitt." Hee.

  • I LOVE this book with complete shamelessness. In fact, your awesome review just made me want to go read it for the five billionth time.

  • baxlala

    You know what's weird? I just read it but kind of want to read it again. It might be a sickness, I'm not sure.

  • Already commented on Cannonball, but I just wanted to come here and emphasize that "Mr. Darcy is the hit of my pants" has got to be one of the greatest things you've ever written.

  • baxlala

    Thank you, but I have to share credit with my friend, since we wrote it together and, honestly, we were so drunk, I have no idea which one of came up with it.

  • So, how do we sign up for/participate in the next Cannonball Run? Because I want in.

  • mswas

    You realize Burt Reynolds isn't involved, right @Lyssie89:disqus ? ;-) Cannonball Read 5 registration will open at the end of December. Stay tuned.

  • Oh damn it. Stupid brain blip. I swear to god I am literate.

  • mswas

    I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist!

  • baxlala

    Could we get Burt Reynolds to guest post for Cannonball Run? That'd be awesome.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    That first scene with Hugh Grant in the elevator as the doors open and he's smirking? I've never loved him more.

    The only book that I can read over and over again and enjoy it as much if not more each time is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, but this looks like one I'd really like as well.

  • baxlala

    Oof, Hugh Grant in that movie is so much better than stammering-shy Hugh Grant.

  • Michelle

    "Also, as fun bonus trivia, Bridget’s friend Tom in the movie is played by James Callis, who later played Dr. Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. So. Make of that what you will."

    OMG THANK YOU. I've been half-heartedly trying to figure out how I knew that actor.

  • baxlala

    I couldn't believe it when Bridget's BFF showed up on BSG! And you know, was maybe not quite as nice as Tom. Heh.

  • Anne At Large

    I was so happy when my brain cells finally made that connection. He is ADORABLE in that movie.

  • competitivenonfiction

    This cracks me up every time he yells "Fight! It's a real fight!" which happens every time I re-watch the show.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I know, that drove me crazy too. I finally had to search IMDb to figure it out.

  • Holly

    The thing I love most about this fact is that both characters have no self-awareness and are completely self-centered. Gaius is just Tom's straight-from-a-distant-future-I-mean-past-mad scientist twin.

  • DeltaJuliet

    I've not read the book, but I've seen the movie over and over and Mark Darcy makes my heart hurt. The THOUGHT of him makes my heart hurt. **sigh** I just love him. Or maybe it's Colin. The whole thing confuses me.
    Yes, I've grown beyond my Bridget Jones years. And yet.....

  • baxlala

    I'm not sure we ever grow beyond our Bridget Jones years. Bridget Jones for everyone!

  • Maguita NYC

    @Baxlala,
    One of the most BRILLIANT and funny reviews that is so on par with the hilarious spirit of the book, it kept me glued to your words until the very end!

    And you are absolutely right in your perception and odd emotional attachment (dependency?) to said Diaries. I've read this book over a decade ago, had debated its value with my girlfriends over Cosmos, many-many Cosmos, had compared it with the (un)sophistication of the Sex-And-The-City girls, and we all always agree: All of us to some degree try to hide our internal Bridget Jones.

    We try to hide our gauche-ness, we feel fat, we crush on the wrong guy who seems to always have more guts to express his lewdness in the most inappropriate of places, at the oddest time, where our somewhat battered egos needed it the most. We all are at an age or another a Bridget Jones. And then of course, there is Mr. Darcy. You should always look closely at the Mr. Darcys of this world. The tall, skinny, broody, brusque guy who doesn't know how to talk to you. For he is always the one! ESPECIALLY when he seems to hold the most boring of jobs!

    I should stop myself before writing my own review of your review (obviously, it is almost too late, so my apologies). Suffice to say, one day, we grow the fuck up. One day, we look back at our Bridget Jones-y decade, and our own unintentional but cringe-worthy hilarious fuckwittagies, and silently admit "I was there once, and I miss it."

    Thank you for this review, it had brought back so many fond memories. I will be reading this old book again this coming week-end.

    (Hope you cover as well Bridget's trip to Thailand!)

  • baxlala

    I love your comment! And I love that you bring up the fact that, even after we grow up, we miss being Bridget Jones. I mean, who wouldn't? She has so much fun. Also! I seriously almost put something in my review about how much better BJD is than Sex & the City but instead I just talked more about Mr. Darcy. Hee.

  • Poop on Sex and the City.

  • Maguita NYC

    Although I am still from the generation of Girl Power, I believe Mr. Darcy is always the exception: Picking Mr. Darcy over the ladies of SATC is ALWAYS right!

  • mswas

    @google-b6231c91d1abf027604ef363d00f8c08:disqus I am always glued to your comments. Can't wait for Cannonball Read V when I can read your writing more often!

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you mswas! I hope I'll be able to fully participate and deliver as per your (high!) expectations!

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