Book Review | Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

: Helen Fielding
: Penguin Books
: 1996
: Romance, Comedy
: 271

For the sake of this review, let’s pretend you haven’t heard of Bridget Jones.  Bridget is our frumpy thirty-something narrator, chronicling her misadventures and her consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and calories through a series of self deprecating diary entries.  Despite past heartbreak, she’s desperate for romance, resulting in constant calamity.  But unlike most chick lit heroines, Bridget is no perfect princess.  She’s messy, moody, and completely relatable.  

10:30 a.m. Jude just called and we spent twenty minutes growling, ‘Fawaw, that Mr Darcy.’  I love the way he talks, sort of as if he can’t be bothered.  Ding-dong!  Then we had a long discussion about the comparative merits of Mr Darcy and Mark Darcy, both agreeing that Mr Darcy was more attractive because he was ruder but that being imaginary was a disadvantage that could not be overlooked – page 247

Classic Romance Reimagined

Bridget Jones’s Diary is extremely entertaining.  As a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, it reinvigorates clichés while offering an intentionally over-the-top portrayal of modern romance.  The beauty of archetypes is everyone can relate the characters to people they know – exasperating parents, pompous and overbearing colleagues, unavailable love interests…

Fun vs Feminism

I want to address the fact that Bridget’s entire purpose is to be empathetic and pitiful – not to be a women’s role model.  If you read this book wanting to see groundbreaking female representation, Bridget will disappoint you completely – besides her binges and stints of wallowing, her entire identity is built on her success with men.  That said, with the aim of being relatable in mind, Fielding achieves her intended vision for this book 100%.  Sometimes, laughing at Bridget’s (and your own) expense is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Bridget Jones’s Diary is fun and fluffy.  If you’re looking for an effortless read with a spoonful of contemporary truth, this book is for you.  

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