Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

1999. Recorded Books. 8 discs. 8 hrs 30 min.

From: the public library

Read by: Barbara Rosenblat

Synopsis: Bridget Jones is a single thirty-something British woman trying to sort out her career and relationships.  She chronicles one year, a year in which a rollercoaster of events occur – from dating her boss, debuting as a TV reporter, and watching her mother outdo her in the scandal department.

Review:

Listening to Bridget Jones’s Diary while driving to and from work was delightful.  Rosenblat’s voice is so expressive and hilariously conveys Bridget’s range of emotions – from delirious joy to the pits of humiliation.

It is a foregone conclusion (even if you haven’t seen the movie) that Bridget will not be single by the end of the year / book.  The vicissitudes of her dating life are amusing but you know how it will all end up.

I found myself more warmed by Bridget’s interactions with her friends.  Their loyalty to Bridget and each other, as flawed as each of them are, made for some of the best moments in the story.

Bridget is not a person that you would admire necessarily (except in her excellent snark), but in all her foibles, she can be quite relatable.  I think not so much of her more spectacular failures, but more in general terms: how her good intentions of self-improvement never seem to fully materialize, for instance.  Who hasn’t envisioned themselves making such-and-such a dramatic change, and not quite got it off the ground?  Well I suppose there must be some exceptions out there, but for the majority of us, there has been at least frustration, if not some failure in the arena of changing your own ways.

True, I do wonder if Bridget Jones’s Diary helped spawn the multitude of chick-lit heroines who are extravagantly, weirdly and unbelievably incompetent and neurotic.  I can laugh at Bridget as a character because the writing is so funny, but I get a little bristly at the trend of similar type characters.

And I’m sure it’s been said in reviews before, but Bridget’s obsession about her weight does grate at times, when she is hovering around 125 pounds.  Fortunately, when she achieves her lowest weight in the book (119, I think), her triumph is quickly squashed by her friends telling her frankly that she doesn’t look right.

I have to say, it’s hilarious that Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were cast in the movie adaptation, as both are mentioned in the book – Grant, for what I forget and Firth for his famous portrayal of Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice.

To come around again to the beginning of my review, I found the book highly entertaining as an audio CD and recommend that medium as a way to experience Bridget Jones’s Diary, if you are at all curious.  I’m not sure I would have been as entertained by reading the book in the traditional manner.

Others’ Reviews:

A Little Bookish – “[Bridget] is infinitely likeable–she has the same insecurities that most of us have when we pursue relationships, hang out with friends, and deal with the eccentricities of our parents.”

What Kate’s Reading – “But at the end of it all, this novel isn’t about feminism or anti-feminism, love, friends, or family. It’s a refreshingly candid tome about a single woman of a certain age, dealing with life as it comes and as it’s dealt. It’s also gut-bustingly funny.”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

  1. Jen

    I saw the movie before I read the book, so I think in that way, it made me like the book because I had the movie sort of riding along with me as I read.

    The audiobook almost seems like a better way to read Bridget Jones’s Diary if you’ve never seen/read anything in Bridget’s world before.

    But I worry that if you’ve seen the movie, “reading” the audiobook might seem pale in comparison?

    • Thanks for your comment! I have seen the movie, though it’s been a number of years. Overall I enjoyed the audiobook more than the movie, because there’s more of course that the book can include. That said, I think I liked the climactic scene with Bridget and Mr. Darcy better in the movie.

      The audiobook was unabridged, so I don’t think a person who had seen the movie should be any more wary of listening to the book than of reading it.

  2. Oh, I am definitely putting this on my audiobook wishlist! I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet.

  3. My recollection is that Hugh Grant is mentioned in the book in reference to that hooker he got caught with. So it kind of surprised me that he wanted to be in the film of it. :p

  4. Daphne – Sometimes those books that have well-known film counterparts come across as less urgent to read. That’s been my experience at times.

    Jenny – You’re right – that was the reference! Surprising.

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