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Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary (1996)

by Helen Fielding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bridget Jones (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,154222146 (3.63)272
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» See also 272 mentions

English (209)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Italian (1)  All (221)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
From my Cannonball Read V review...

This book is so good.

I saw the movie. I laughed at the idea that Renée Zellwegger was fat. I drooled a bit over Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy. I loved the screw-up at work where Bridget claimed she was on the phone with an author who had, unbeknownst to her, died three decades earlier, when the word fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I recognized the friendship archetypes.

The book isn’t better, or worse. It’s different, and frankly, I thought it was fantastic. I was expecting a sad, ridiculous stereotype of a woman – instead the Bridget Jones in print is a complex woman who isn’t overly intellectual but isn’t flighty or ridiculous. She’s living in a world where she’s been told what her value is in terms of looks and in terms of her marriagability. She is rational, then irrational, then rational again.

The book has a somewhat similar storyline to the film – there is a relationship with her boss Daniel, there is a disdain, then attraction, then disdain, then attraction with Mark Darcy, all her friends are accounted for – but there are also some diversions. For example, she has a brother in the book. And her mother’s journey takes something of a dark turn. But the core of the book – and of Bridget herself – remains.

I’m newly married, and I only spent one year as properly single in my 30s. However, I could relate to so much of Bridget’s internal monologue. Some of it was so ridiculous – like when she leaves a potential sex partner because she doesn’t want to just fuck around, and has this triumphant feminist moment … then muses “I may have been right, but my reward, I know, will be to end up all along, half-eaten by an Alsatian” – but still relatable. She’s so hard on herself – tracking her daily food consumption, her weight, her cigarette intake – and beating herself up with each weight fluctuation.

One favorite part is when she somehow manages to get her weight down to her goal, and everyone comments that she looks a bit tired, and looked ‘better before.’ “Now I feel empty and bewildered…Eighteen years – wasted. Eighteen years of calorie- and fat-unit-base arithmetic…I feel like a scientist who discovers that his life’s work has been a total mistake.” Observations like that – as well as the one that she has lost 72 pounds and gained 74 pounds over the course of the year – are real, at least, to me, and they represent the constant struggle many women face, and how they feel they can’t win. I’ve been there. Shoot, I live there.

She’s also hard on herself when it comes to work, and men. Whenever she has a flash of self-confidence or makes an attempt to start fresh, something inevitable pops up to derail her. Sometimes it’s silly, but most of the time it seems fairly realistic. It’s not like everything is bad, always, but there is this sort of constant underlying stress. It’s not the same stress as someone who is facing poverty, or racism, or anything so serious, but it’s that steady undercurrent saying you aren’t thin enough, or smart enough, or attractive enough, or enough like society wants you to be (i.e. married and having children). It’s the stress of wanting to fit convention, then buck it, then fit it again.

The book feels light and deep at the same time. I’m sure if I spent more time analyzing it I could find some problems to dissect (is she an active agent, or does she fixate her life around finding a mate?) but I kind of don’t want to spend more time focusing on it because I don’t want to ruin a really fun reading experience. ( )
1 vote ASKelmore | Jul 8, 2017 |

I really wanted to like it more than I did. Started out to be pretty funny, but to be honest the humor doesn't hold up for a whole book, and it veers into problematic territory more often than not.

Just watch the movies. The changes they made are what actually make the story and the characters more endearing, funny, and relatable. IMO this is one of the instances where the adaptations end up being much better than the original source. ( )
  Booksen | Jun 23, 2017 |
"Even the most outrageous minxes lose their nerve, wrestling with the first twinges of existential angst: fears of dying alone and being found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian.”

Bridget Jones is in the age where she needed a partner and time to settle down, however, she is single. She keeps a diary to count her calories intake, smoking, and inner poise.

As it is written in the form of a diary, it becomes a little boring sometimes so I put the book down. Also, I hate how she obsesses with Daniel, a jerk, but I love her humor.

“That is such crap. How dare you be so fraudulently flirtatious, cowardly and dysfunctional? I am not interested in emotional fuckwittage. Goodbye.” ( )
  phoibee | Apr 23, 2017 |
this has to be one of the worst books i've ever read. if this is what the life of an averae modern single girl is like, then the world is in even worse shape than i thought. funny on the surface, but heartbreaking if you realize what's actually happening ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Bridget Jones decides to start a diary in order to track her progress in weight loss (specifically thigh circumference), quitting smoking, drinking less and finding a man (with no emotional fuckwittage!), as she’s tired of being a thirty-something singleton.

Pretty sure you’ve all at least heard of this book and likely seen the movie. I originally read it back in high school and was recently reminded of its existence when a friend of mine began, rather obsessively, watching the movie over and over. I decided a re-read was in order, in preparation for buddy reading the second book with said friend, and I’m so happy I picked this up again.

BJD is refreshingly funny – despite the fact that I’m no longer a singleton (and perhaps never was) and I don’t understand many of the Britain-specific references Bridget makes, I still found her to be refreshingly relatable. I laughed more times than I can count while reading this book. As a woman, I can understand Bridget’s struggles with self-image and weight gain/loss. Her brutal honesty and blunt wit solidify her as a character and made me want to be friends with her (even though she would consider me a Smug Married now).

Like many women, Bridget longs for a man with no emotional fuckwittage, yet pursues the complete opposite when she has a fling with her boss, Daniel. Then there’s Mark Darcy, the stoic, awkward family friend that her mother keeps throwing her at every chance she gets. Here runs the parallel with Pride and Prejudice, which BJD pays homage to. Daniel is the sexy, daring, scandalous (and untrustworthy!) Wickham, while Mark is…well…Darcy! I, of course, always root for Darcy, especially because I will forever picture Mark Darcy as Colin Firth.

I like that Fielding plays with her P&P references by having Bridget comment on the fact that Mark Darcy is snobbish and standoffish at a party, much like his classic namesake, which she finds utterly ridiculous.

There are certainly a few large differences in plot between the book and movie. Overall, I prefer the book, but I do still love both. I think the book has a better climax and ending though, especially where it concerns Bridget’s relationship with Darcy – the book has many more parallels to P&P, naturally I love that.

Books with a diary format always make me yearn to pick up a notebook and chronicle my own life, but I fear it wouldn’t be even a sliver as interesting or funny as Bridget’s (not to mention I’m way too lazy to measure my thighs or count calories), so I’ll leave it to the pros. Looking forward to finally reading the second book (which will hopefully be far superior to the movie)! By the way, this Penguin Ink edition is the best and if you’re into romantic comedies, I think you should pick this up! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Sep 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
O.K., James Joyce it may not be, but show me the woman to whom this sort of stream-of-consciousness, self-assessing mental clutter is unfamiliar and I'll show you the person who will not think ''Bridget Jones's Diary'' is both completely hilarious and spot on.

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Fieldingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Heesen, MarthaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karhulahti, SariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McPherson, TaraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To my mum, Nellie, for not being like Bridget's
First words

Drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Meet Bridget Jones—a 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

"123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)..."

Bridget Jones' 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. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you'll find yourself shouting, "Bridget Jones is me!"
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014028009X, Paperback)

In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and "Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way)." In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year's resolution--the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent.

At the beginning of Helen Fielding's exceptionally funny second novel, the thirtyish publishing puffette is suffering from postholiday stress syndrome but determined to find Inner Peace and poise. Bridget will, for instance, "get up straight away when wake up in mornings." Now if only she can survive the party her mother has tricked her into--a suburban fest full of "Smug Marrieds" professing concern for her and her fellow "Singletons"--she'll have made a good start. As far as she's concerned, "We wouldn't rush up to them and roar, 'How's your marriage going? Still having sex?'"

This is only the first of many disgraces Bridget will suffer in her year of performance anxiety (at work and at play, though less often in bed) and living through other people's "emotional fuckwittage." Her twin-set-wearing suburban mother, for instance, suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress, while our heroine herself spends half the time overdosing on Chardonnay and feeling like "a tragic freak." Bridget Jones's Diary began as a column in the London Independent and struck a chord with readers of all sexes and sizes. In strokes simultaneously broad and subtle, Helen Fielding reveals the lighter side of despair, self-doubt, and obsession, and also satirizes everything from self-help books (they don't sound half as sensible to Bridget when she's sober) to feng shui, Cosmopolitan-style. She is the Nancy Mitford of the 1990s, and it's impossible not to root for her endearing heroine. On the other hand, one can only hope that Bridget will continue to screw up and tell us all about it for years and books to come. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:02 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Bridget Jones takes readers on a tour of a hilarious year-in-the-life of a confused thirty-something singleton who would have all the answers if she could just lose seven pounds, stop smoking, and attain inner poise.

» see all 15 descriptions

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