Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary coverBridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding.

310 pages long.



First published by Picador in October 1996, the paperback was June 1997.

Helen Fielding - photo by Piers FletcherHelen Fielding's second novel was a smash hit. Asked to write a column about herself, she did not like the idea of that, instead she decided to use a character whom she had been trying to write a sitcom about. The story of Bridget Jones began as a newspaper column in The Independent through 1995. Letters of support and a suggestion from her publisher made Helen decide to turn it into a fully-fledged book.

Initially quiet in hardback it was the release of the softback that catapulted it to the top of the best-sellers with worldwide sales of over 4 million copies. Helen lives in London and Los Angeles.

Being a South Londoner myself, it is oddly great to read familiar names in books, especially books that are respected. I heard about the movie and the cries of brilliance directed to both film and book, but had not seen the book before the BBC's Big Read was held. The Big Read got the public to submit their favourite novel and from all the entries they produced a favourite 100 books list. In no particular order, just the most voted for novels. Bridget Jones's Diary was in there, and when looking for some of these books in the library I came across it. I am glad I did too.

Immensely funny in places and smilingly brilliant in others it is a very humorous look at the chaotic life of a slightly vain, slightly paranoid, independent, desperate to be coupled, thirty-something woman. Bridget not only relates to the women out there but Helen's characterization of many of Bridget's friends and associates are so recognizable I began to wonder if I actually knew many Bridget Jones' in my friends. If Helen's talent had not resided in writing she could easily have been a comedian in the vein of Billy Connelly or Ben Elton, as she clearly has the ability to express in words life's strangeness. Her perceptions of people and their inner thought are spot on.

Helen Fielding - photo by Andrew CrowleyFielding said about the many phrases in Bridget Jones's Diary...

"Fuckwittage [she pronounces it to rhyme with fromage], it's from the French. That was actually my friend that coined that. She was writing about someone, and she said, "It's just emotional fuckwittage!" A lot of the stuff in the book was donated by friends. A lot of the stories....One must never write about oneself."

Helen introduces us to Bridget at the beginning of the year and the book follows through the year, the chapters being each month. By the end of the book I had laughed with Bridget, sobbed with Bridget, been drunk with Bridget and felt humiliated with Bridget.

Bridget is human and such a plebe it is almost disgusting. I kept wondering throughout the book, was this pulled from her own life? Apparently it is based upon many of her friends and her observations of people. Bridget's little rescue brigade, her friends Sharon and Jude, are what everyone needs in life. Her best friend, Tom, is so realistic I can imagine him so vividly; but even he occasionally reverts to a blithering idiot when his own paranoias' and insecurities surface to undermine him.

There are lots of great things about this book, but one makes reading this a is so easy and quick to read! The short entries are to the point and fantastically fast. Everyone who is remotely curious should give it a go, it will be over before it has begun, but well worth it.

Elle Magazine said...
"Bridget Jones is channeling something so universal and (horrifyingly) familiar that readers will giggle and sigh with collective delight."

The Philadelphia Inquirer said...
"Bridget's voice is dead-on . . . will cause readers to drop the book, grope frantically for the phone, and read it out loud to their best girlfriends."

Salman Rushdie said...
"A brilliant comic creation. Even men will laugh."

The New York Times Book Review said...
"Good-bye Rules Girls, hello Singletons . . . Endearingly engaging."

Helen Fielding - photo by Piers Fletcher


The sequel - Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was published in hardback by Picador in November 1999. It was published in paperback by Picador in June 2000. Bridget Jones's Diary has been made into a film by Working Title, which produced Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, starring Rene Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. After reading the book can you guess who played who?


Enjoyment: 8, Depth: 4, Readability: 9, Layout: 6, Value: 5.

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Last updated: 2nd June 2003