Bridget Jones's Diary
Grade : A

Sometimes a book comes along that makes us take a real look at ourselves through the laughter. Until I read Bridget Jones’s Diary, I never thought I would enjoy a book that is in diary form, much less give it Desert Isle Keeper status. Not only is it funny, it is autobiographical for any number of single women trying to make a living while going through the process of life and dating.
The diary starts appropriately on January 1, and ends on the following New Year’s Eve. Bridget starts with an intimidating number of resolutions – they range from making up a compilation of mood tapes to losing weight, giving up smoking, alcohol and crushes, and replacing the crushes of course with relationships based on mature assessment of character. How do these resolutions and the following year go? Here is a quote from an entry on the first day of the year:

Anyway, have got giant tray-sized bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk left over from Christmas on dressing table, also amusing joke gin and tonic miniature. Am going to consume them and have fag.

Obviously Bridget is off to a flying start.

This book reads so much like a real personal journal that, at times, it is almost like an invasion of privacy. All of Bridget’s insecurities and strengths, mistakes and good choices, joys and sorrows are written in the same abbreviated style. There were moments that I laughed out loud, and moments that I wanted to shake the living daylights out of her. She reads like a close friend, and I could only want good things for her because of it.

Women and men come off equally good and not so good through Bridget’s honest commentary. Friends betray friends, men sleep with anything that moves, and characters – including Bridget – cannot get beyond their own insecurities. There is also generosity and support here in truckloads. At times, reading this book is like trying on a swimsuit in a dressing room fitted with fluorescent lighting – far too honest for comfort. Bridget has those physical insecurities too many women have, and the way she talks to herself I could hear my own self saying at times. For example, she starts each day by listing her weight and various other statistics:

125 lbs. (if only could stay under 126 lbs. And not keep bobbing up and down like drowning corpse – drowning in fat), alcohol units 2, cigarettes 17 (pre-shag nerves, understandable), calories 775 (last-ditch attempt to get down to 119 lbs. Before tomorrow).

Hearing such neurotic concerns about weight certainly woke me up enough for me to tell that particular voice inside my head to shut the heck up. Maybe it is a voice that needs to be silenced for all of us. Admittedly Bridget is not loaded with common sense, but then again, that is one of the many things I like about her. Does she have a happy ending? I’m hoping you get the book to find out (I certainly closed the book with a smile).

Reviewed by Rebecca Ekmark

Grade: A

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : May 25, 1999

Publication Date: 7/1998

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