Bridget Jones – Helen Fielding

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Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones books are the best antidote I can think of for the grumpies, in my case most recently induced by an unexpected 5 hour layover at SFO. Fortunately most airports these days carry small but decent book stores and even more fortunately in this particular instance the SFO bookstore carried Bridget Jones.

Cervante-esque in their humour, Bridget Jones’s Diary and its sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, carry us on a delightful romp through the life and loves of Bridget Jones, a thirty something London girl who can’t quite seem to get anything right, but for whom life magically all works out in the end. The first book is loosely themed around Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, with the male love interest, who Bridget at first spurns, is a one Mark Darcy, a deliciously modern day character equivalent of the first Darcy.

When the Bridget Jones Diary first came out I was bemused to read some reviews, by men naturally, who were appalled by Bridget’s shallow self-obsessions with weight, cigarrettes, drinking, and “shagging”. Well my friends, believe it or not, Bridget’s diary does indeed express the way that most of us single women think and feel. Which is exactly why it is so hilarious. Bridget is exposing our innermost insecurities and obsessions for the whole world to read.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason picks up where the Diary leaves off. Bridget is happily ensconced with Darcy. This happy scene Bridget proceeds to ruin through a series of misunderstandings and Bridget’s obsessions with how men and women should behave according to self-help bibles such as The Rules and Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Level-headed Mark Darcy comes through for Bridget in the end, rescuing her from a possible 10 year Thailand prison sentence. Bridget throws away all of her ridiculous self-help books only to find that Mark has started reading them just to understand her better.

You know these books are good when my 74 year-old, well read and sometimes stuffy father read them, practically crying with laughter, and insisted that we rent the movie, which he also belly-ached his way through. Helen Fielding is clearly a masterful comic writer.

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