Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding
published 1996
completed September 2010

I picked this book up for part of the Take Another Chance Challenge hosted by Jenners.  This particular entry requires reading two books, one of which is inspired by the other.  I chose to read Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Bridget Jones is a single woman in her 30's.  The new year has begun and she is using her diary to keep track of her progress on the requisite New Year's resolutions.  She wants to lose weight, drink less, stop smoking, and find a decent boyfriend.

It's difficult to review this book without comparing it to it's inspiration, Pride and Prejudice.  Although the story lines are similar, these books are very different.  While there is humor in both, Austen tends to be more witty, while Fielding's book has a more a slapstick feel.  I did laugh out loud a few times reading Bridget Jones's Diary, but the book as a whole felt superficial.  There is much more depth to Jane Austen's novel and it is a book that has been memorable to me.

Bridget is a quirky girl, afraid of dying alone--drastically different than Elizabeth Bennet, who is fiercely independent.   Bridget also seemed shallow.  Bridget was always embarrassing herself which made for a good laugh but I didn't emotionally connect with her as I did Elizabeth.  I also didn't feel like Bridget did anything to deserve Mark Darcy's affections, while I can completely understand how Mr. Darcy fell in love with Elizabeth.

It's really unfair to compare a contemporary novel to an adored classic, especially since the classic is my favorite book.  On it's own, Bridget Jones's Diary is entertaining.  It's not a book that I was really sucked into.  The humor that caught me off guard with laughs at the beginning, was tiring by the end.  It would be a fun vacation or beach read, but I wouldn't recommend it on any other level.


  1. i found the bjones books quirky and fun reads. i loved bridget's turn of a phrase, dogged determination, and spirit.

    p&p is a book from a totally different realm. fielding pays homage to austen in her book, but i'd agree that they are impossible to juxtapose.

  2. Nat--I agree that it is unfair to compare them. Bridget is a fun narrator to read. Knowing that it was paying homage to P&P, I think I set my expectations too high. If I hadn't been constantly comparing the two as I read, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

  3. I remember BJD being fun ... but I would have never pegged it as "inspired by" P&P other than having someone named Darcy!

  4. I haven't read this, though I enjoyed the movie adaptation. At the time, I didn't know the story was supposed to be a homage to Pride and Prejudice. If I'd know, my enjoyment of the movie might have suffered from the comparison. :-)

  5. I read this years ago before the movie and all the hype and really enjoyed it. At the time I hadn't read Pride and Prejudice yet and other than Mark Darcy's name and her obsession with Collin Firth (talk about the irony of that!), I didn't know the connection. But I agree that Bridget is ridiculous! ;)

    Guess you won't be reading the second one!

  6. Jenners--The stories lines loosely follow P&P. It was a fun read, but just not something that stuck with me.

    Stephanie--I've never seen the movie but I think I would probably enjoy it more than the book. I love Colin Firth and I saw that it got great reviews.

    Trish--I probably won't read the second one. I heard it wasn't as good as the first. It was funny reading it after the movie adaptation because of the digs it makes on Hugh Grant and the mention of Colin Firth. Too funny.