The 2001 film adaptation with Renee Zellweger is one of my favorite romcoms, so when I spied the original novel on the book shelf at my Mum’s I decided to give it a go. With some reservations, as I’ve read a couple of other books my favourite chick flicks were based on, which turned out to be very disappointing. I ended up gulping down the book in a space of one evening, while waiting for the drying machine to finish its business, it was that readable.
Like the movie, it chronicles a year in the life of Bridget, an adorably neurotic 30-something woman living in London, who obsesses over her weight and her rakish boss Daniel, and makes a New Year’s resolution to sort her life out. It’s written in the pronoun-skipping diary form and each entry begins with a daily tally of alcohol, cigarettes and calories (and occasionally coffee).
Fielding’s writing is light, fun and breezy and humour was the best thing about the book, it had me chuckling throughout with some real laugh-out-loud moments here and there. Though I admit that there were some peculiarly British references that sailed right over my head. While the book exaggerates many things for the sake of comedy, I think most women can relate to at least some aspects of Bridget’s life.
The novel was originally published in 1996, so it was interesting to see the total lack of social media in the characters’ lives; ah the simple days of phone, text, emails and video tapes. Naturally, because I’ve seen the film so many times, I had Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in my head throughout. Which got weird at one point when the book directly referenced Colin Firth and the Pride and Prejudice TV series, where he of course played Mr Darcy, but then he also played Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’ Diary… arghh too much collision between the film and book worlds.