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Bridget Jones's Diary is a 1996 novel by Helen Fielding. Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman living in Londonmarker. She writes (often humorously) about her career, self-image, vices, family, friends, and romantic relationships.

Plot Summary

The main focus of plot is Bridget's love life. Her view divides the world into "Singletons," — unmarried and romantically unattached people, of whom she is one — and "Smug Marrieds," by whom she is surrounded. She worries on a regular basis about dying alone and going on to be eaten by dogs when her singleness causes her death not to be discovered promptly, an obsession that a USA Today reviewer called "one of [Bridget's] more cheerful daydreams". However, during the course of the year she becomes involved in two romantic relationships. The first is with her charming and handsome boss Daniel Cleaver, who eventually cheats on Bridget with a younger, more conventionally attractive woman. Bridget's second relationship is with the stuffy human-rights barrister Mark Darcy, whom she initially dislikes when they are reintroduced at a New Year's party where her mother reminds them they were childhood playmates. These two men are connected by more than their relationships with Bridget, as Fielding reveals near the end of the novel.

Bridget not only obsesses about her love life, but also details her various daily struggles with her weight, her over-indulgence in alcohol and cigarettes, and her career. At the beginning of the novel she is employed in the publishing industry, but after her breakup with Daniel she quits and begins working, somewhat accidentally, as a journalist for a local television station.

Bridget's friends and family are the supporting characters in Bridget's story. Her close friends are Shazzer, a strident feminist; Jude, a highly successful business woman; and Tom, a gay man. These friends are there for her unconditionally throughout the novel; they give her advice about her relationships, and support when problems arise. Her friends are essentially her surrogate family in London. Bridget's parents live outside of the city, and while they play a lesser role than her friends, they are important figures in Bridget's life. Her mother is an overconfident, doting woman who is constantly trying to marry Bridget off to a rich, handsome man. Her father is considerably more down-to-earth, though he is sometimes driven into uncharacteristically unstable states of mind by his wife. Bridget often visits her parents, as well as her parents' friends, primarily Geoffrey and Una Alconbury; Geoffrey creates a mildly uncomfortable situation for Bridget by insisting she call him "Uncle Geoffrey" despite his propensity to grope her rear end whenever they meet. In these situations, Bridget is often plagued with that perennial question "How's your love life?" and exposed to the eccentricities of middle class British society, manifested in Turkey Curry Buffets and Tarts and Vicars parties in which the women wear sexually provocative ("tart") costumes, while the men dress as Anglican priests ("vicars").

Themes

A main concept in Bridget Jones's Diary is that of "f$%@wittage": the emotional turmoil intentionally wreaked by men who fall anywhere along the spectrum of womanizers to commitment-phobics. Bridget is not the only character who experiences "f$%@wittage" in her relationship with Daniel - it plagues Jude's on-again, off-again relationship with a man referred to as "Vile Richard," and Tom's relationship with a man nicknamed "Pretentious Jerome."

Many parallels can be found between this book and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, most noticeably in the male protagonists' last names as well as character traits (compare Fitzwilliam Darcy to Mark Darcy). The relationship of Daniel Cleaver to Mark Darcy very loosely parallels the relationship of George Wickham to Fitzwilliam Darcy. Also noticeable are the similarities between Bridget's and Elizabeth Bennet's mothers and fathers.

Publication

This novel evolved from Helen Fielding's The Diary of Bridget Jones columns in The Independent and The Daily Telegraph. Fielding devised the novel with the help of Independent journalist Charles Leadbeater. As a columnist, Fielding often lampooned society's obsession with women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan and criticised wider societal trends in Britain at the time.

The novel was first published in 1996 by the U.K. publisher and turned into an international success. As of 2006, the book has sold over 2 million copies worldwide A sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, was published in 1999.

Film Adaptation

A motion picture adaptation of the novel was released in 2001. The film stars Renée Zellweger as the eponymous heroine, Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver, and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. It was directed by Sharon Maguire and the screenplay was written by Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies, and Richard Curtis.

Awards

The novel won the 1998 British Book of the Year , and Tracie Bennett won the 2000 Audie Award for "Solo Female Narration" for her audio book narration.

References

External links




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