Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding

Paperback, 1999

Call number

FIC FIE

Collection

Publication

Penguin Books (1999), 288 pages

Description

A comedy on an Englishwoman's quest for self-improvement. Single and thirty-something Bridget diets, keeps tabs on her tobacco and alcohol consumption, visits the gym regularly, yet she still has problems finding the right man. A debut in fiction.

Media reviews

O.K., James Joyce it may not be, but show me the woman to whom this sort of stream-of-consciousness, self-assessing mental clutter is unfamiliar and I'll show you the person who will not think ''Bridget Jones's Diary'' is both completely hilarious and spot on.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
Bridget Jones had me at page one of her New Year's Resolutions that included under the "I WILL NOT" heading the line: "Sulk about having no boyfriend, but develop inner poise and authority and sense of self as woman of substance, complete without boyfriend, as best way to obtain boyfriend."

Bridget
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is adorable, funny and relatable. A work of fiction in diary format depends on a strong voice, and this one has it to burn--and I loved the British accent on life as a thirties-something "singleton" at the close of the 20th Century. I'm not sure this piece of froth is for the ages with all its pop references--I can just imagine the footnotes necessary to untangle them decades from now that would kill the humor, but the take on contemporary life as a woman torn between the messages of Susan Faludi's Backlash and Cosmopolitan is so often dead on.

It's even rarer that I laugh-out-loud than cry because of passages in a book, but his one had me giggling at Bridget's list of her Breakfast: hot-cross bun (Scarsdale Diet--slight variation on the specified piece of whole-wheat toast); Mars Bar (Scarsdale Diet--slight variation on specified half grapefruit). When I wasn't wildly giggling while reading I was widely smiling in rueful recognition.

I even got a kick out of the Pride and Prejudice homage that consisted of more than just there being a character named Mark Darcy. (Even if Bridget is no modern day Lizzie Bennet by any stretch of the imagination--too ditzy.)

The most laugh-out-loud moments I've had with a book since Good Omens.
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LibraryThing member eheleneb3
This is such a great book! After reading it my own diary was filled with factual, pronoun-less entries, like: “Must buy bread. Am thoroughly disgusted with self for yesterday’s behavior. Am not doing that again.” And I love Fielding’s decision to have a Mr. Darcy character in her book,
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which can only be topped by the fact that Colin Firth actually plays Mark Darcy in the movie. I love British humor! I love Jane Austen tie-ins! I love Colin Firth! I love heroines who eat and smoke and drink and aren’t perfect! This is a delightful book, very enjoyable and easy to read.
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LibraryThing member bibliobbe
I read this one when it first came out, and I laughed myself stupid. Yes, chicklit has been around for longer than the name it’s now known by, but this book does seem to encapsulate the genre. Stories for women, about women, by women. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t endured at least
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some of Bridget’s humiliations or spent a similar amount of time wishing and dreaming her life away. It helped me to realise that I’m a better cook than Bridget, but I was extremely envious of her man – Mark Darcy. After Pride and Prejudice, how could any other name justify the character? And full marks to the movie makers for getting Colin Firth to take on the role. If you haven’t already read it, where have you been?
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LibraryThing member sacrain
Sigh. My first experience with British Chick Lit. It really was love at first sight. A girl around my age (at the time) who snuck cigs, drank, had "wobbly bits" and never really had anything turn out right....the only differences between Bridget and me were a fabulous accent, and it turned out
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great for her in the end. And someone loved Renee Z enough to cast her in the movie version.

This is totally a rite of passage book for any girl who loved Judy Blume and Madeline L'Engle as a child...and stealth-read Cosmos at the public library because Sr. Gertrude Marie didn't stock that filth in the St. Matt's library.
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LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
Somehow I missed that this was actually a book, written as a diary; I formerly was only aware of it as a movie. I saw the movie years ago, probably not long after it was released. I watched the movie again fall of 2008, even saw the sequel.

First time through the film I know I understood very
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little of what was said. Last year when I watched it I understood almost all of it, having lived here for a year.

I only decided to read the book because I saw it on a list of 'Have you read' books recently. Really, I am still not sure how it became a part of the list. There was nothing especially special about the book. It appears to follow along much as the movie did. Of course I am going to have to rewatch the movie at some point, I guess, to determine if I am recalling that correctly. While it wasn't a life-changing book for me to read I will probalby also read the sequel so that I can say that I read both books and saw both films.
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LibraryThing member setnahkt
1996) but I just got around to reading it on a friend’s recommendation, based on me being Jane Austen fan. Bridget Jones’s Diary is an updated Pride and Prejudice, with the titular character taking the role of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy played by a man who’s name actually is Darcy.

At
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first, I was disappointed; Bridget Jones is nothing like the updated Elizabeth Bennett I imagined. She’s a chain smoker, anxiety-ridden, obsessed about her appearance, and apparently hasn’t read a book since college.

But

She’s also touchingly loyal to friends and family, some of whom behave in ways that strain that loyal

And

Who am I to talk anyway? I have a home library that could grace a small town, but does that really give me “standing” to be critical? Bridget’s pretty funny, with none other than Salman Rushdie blurbing “Even men will laugh” on the back cover; and I did.
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LibraryThing member theWallflower
I realized the movie was so good, I should probably try the book. It did cause a phenomenon after all.

First, I’ve got to say this is the worst cover I’ve ever seen. Creepy woman with big eyes and puckered mouth trapped inside a book. Looks like Tom Riddle’s diary went drag.

Second, the movie
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is far far superior to the book. As expected, it’s an epistolary. Every entry is pretty short and always starts with calories consumed, alcohol drunk, cigarettes smoked. This woman has ADHD, which makes her entries difficult to read. It embodies all the worst elements of chick lit. She’s super judgy, complains a lot. She makes bad decisions, then wonders why there are consequences for her actions. I admire her for standing up to “masculine fuckwittage” as she calls it (for example, refusing to indulge a man who stood her up, then went on a date just to get sex). But her other characteristics make her very difficult to stomach. She and I couldn’t hang.

It’s a look into the double standards of single woman life, expecting the body to be a certain way and full of people around her who say the same thing. At least it’s short. But you are way better off watching the movie and avoiding the book. There is nothing that you missed.
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LibraryThing member -Eva-
A year in the life of painfully self-aware Bridget Jones, a 30-something Londoner who zigzags her way through life, trying to avoid drinking, eating, or smoking too much, while dodging unattainable men and finding her own perfect "Mr. Darcy." This was such a fun novel the first time I read it and I
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really loved all the odd characters in Bridget's life. Since then, the movie version has come out and upon rereading the book, I realized that (don't hate me) I prefer the movie version. The book is still fun, but I think I may have become a little too old to be able to relate to Bridget and her friends' hang-ups and obsessions. Still happy to have reread it, but it'll go in the donation pile now.
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LibraryThing member drmarymccormack
Pretty good book. Funny but not life changing. A good diversion when you're sick of trying to read all the books you're supposed to be reading.
LibraryThing member ASKelmore
From my Cannonball Read V review...

This book is so good.

I saw the movie. I laughed at the idea that Renée Zellwegger was fat. I drooled a bit over Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy. I loved the screw-up at work where Bridget claimed she was on the phone with an author who had, unbeknownst to her, died
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three decades earlier, when the word fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I recognized the friendship archetypes.

The book isn’t better, or worse. It’s different, and frankly, I thought it was fantastic. I was expecting a sad, ridiculous stereotype of a woman – instead the Bridget Jones in print is a complex woman who isn’t overly intellectual but isn’t flighty or ridiculous. She’s living in a world where she’s been told what her value is in terms of looks and in terms of her marriagability. She is rational, then irrational, then rational again.

The book has a somewhat similar storyline to the film – there is a relationship with her boss Daniel, there is a disdain, then attraction, then disdain, then attraction with Mark Darcy, all her friends are accounted for – but there are also some diversions. For example, she has a brother in the book. And her mother’s journey takes something of a dark turn. But the core of the book – and of Bridget herself – remains.

I’m newly married, and I only spent one year as properly single in my 30s. However, I could relate to so much of Bridget’s internal monologue. Some of it was so ridiculous – like when she leaves a potential sex partner because she doesn’t want to just fuck around, and has this triumphant feminist moment … then muses “I may have been right, but my reward, I know, will be to end up all along, half-eaten by an Alsatian” – but still relatable. She’s so hard on herself – tracking her daily food consumption, her weight, her cigarette intake – and beating herself up with each weight fluctuation.

One favorite part is when she somehow manages to get her weight down to her goal, and everyone comments that she looks a bit tired, and looked ‘better before.’ “Now I feel empty and bewildered…Eighteen years – wasted. Eighteen years of calorie- and fat-unit-base arithmetic…I feel like a scientist who discovers that his life’s work has been a total mistake.” Observations like that – as well as the one that she has lost 72 pounds and gained 74 pounds over the course of the year – are real, at least, to me, and they represent the constant struggle many women face, and how they feel they can’t win. I’ve been there. Shoot, I live there.

She’s also hard on herself when it comes to work, and men. Whenever she has a flash of self-confidence or makes an attempt to start fresh, something inevitable pops up to derail her. Sometimes it’s silly, but most of the time it seems fairly realistic. It’s not like everything is bad, always, but there is this sort of constant underlying stress. It’s not the same stress as someone who is facing poverty, or racism, or anything so serious, but it’s that steady undercurrent saying you aren’t thin enough, or smart enough, or attractive enough, or enough like society wants you to be (i.e. married and having children). It’s the stress of wanting to fit convention, then buck it, then fit it again.

The book feels light and deep at the same time. I’m sure if I spent more time analyzing it I could find some problems to dissect (is she an active agent, or does she fixate her life around finding a mate?) but I kind of don’t want to spend more time focusing on it because I don’t want to ruin a really fun reading experience.
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LibraryThing member dwcofer
This was an extremely difficult book to read. I almost DNF’d it twice, but kept on reading, hoping it would get better. It didn’t. This is simply a boring book that was difficult to finish.

The story is told in diary form by Bridget Jones, who is whiny, boring, and shallow. She is neither funny
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nor likeable. She engages in stupid and idiotic behavior repeatedly and never learns from her mistakes. Such as falling in love with and dating “bad boy” Daniel over and over despite his toxic behavior toward Bridget. She repeats her same mistakes again and again.

The characters, including Bridget, are one dimensional and flaccid. It was impossible to work up any empathy for anyone in this book.

There is also a slight error in her diary. On the entry for March 15, she writes it is two weeks until her birthday. Then 6 days later on March 21, it is her birthday. Is she so stupid she does not even know when her birthday is? It would not surprise me.

Just avoid this book and don’t waste your time.
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LibraryThing member bostonbibliophile
Terrific, well-written story about a modern woman finding her place in the world. It may be the mother of all chick lit but it is a very well-crafted piece of frothy fun.
LibraryThing member pdxwoman
I happened upon a Canadian publisher's copy (in my American Goodwill shop), which is apparently the same as the British version. I don't know exactly what the difference is (other than her weight being in stones rather than pounds), but I like the *idea* of reading it as it was written.

I love the
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movies so I'm surprised I waited so long to pick up the books. I wasn't over-awed by the first book. I laughed out loud about a dozen times. The writing style (same as the narration style in the movies) is choppy, but I got used to it after 50 or so pages. Daniel (Hugh Grant's character in the movie) doesn't come across as bad in the book -- just a typical skirt-chasing, sports-loving, shallow sort of chap. About half-way through I quit reading the opening sections for each day listing her weight, # of fags she'd smoked, lottery tickets she'd scratched, etc.

All in all, a decent beach or travel read but I wouldn't spend my time reading it again.
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LibraryThing member sarahzilkastarke
Bridget Jones's Diary is a guilty pleasure for me. I know it is not high brow literature but it is witty and I can relate as a former spinster. Bridget thinks she is heavy, not pretty enough (for what I'm not sure), smokes and drinks too much, and of course she always says the wrong thing at the
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wrong time but it just adds to the charm of her character.

It is the classic choice of the bad boy who is available when you need a man, Daniel and the good man where the timing never seems to work out, Darcy. Daniel cheats and lies, but while Darcy is far from perfect he does get engaged to a complete bore for about 30 pages he is honest.

It's a quick read. I wonder back to it about once a year because nothing can cure a book funk like a quirky romance.
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LibraryThing member mrstreme
Bridget Jones’s Diary is a cute, fluffy novel that had me laughing at many parts and groaning in others. Of the several “chick lit” books I have read, Bridget is as adorable, vulnerable and likeable as her “chick” counterparts. However, what sets her apart, in my opinion, is that she
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learned from her adventures and came out a wiser person (though, with a sequel, this could have been temporary!).

Bridget Jones is a single thirty-something who can’t find a meaningful relationship, works in a dead-end job and must cope with her mother’s mid-life crisis. She writes about her life in her diary, including a faithful documentation of her daily alcohol, tobacco and caloric consumption. In effect, she gains 74 pounds but loses 72, binges on alcohol (especially when times get tough) and never strikes it rich. Her affair with her boss, Daniel, leaves her feeling miserable and lonely, and by the end of the book, she finally gets her act together to end the year on a positive note.

Thanks to Raidergirl3 (Elizabeth) for recommending that I read Bridget Jones’s Diary around the holidays. It was perfect for this time of year – a light read with short chapters (great for bookmarking in between baking batches of cookies) and some good laughs. It was a fun book. Interestingly, it was awarded the British Book Award (Book of the Year) in 1998. You go girl!
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LibraryThing member christinejoseph
This is a best seller — Typical Page
Weight 101
Ate 2 Brownies
Thought @ Tom 3 Hrs

A Joke!

Meet Bridget Jones—a 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

Bridget Jones' Diary is the devastatingly self-aware,
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laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.
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LibraryThing member Magadri
This book was hilarious. I'm not generally one for chick lit, but for some reason, I can make an exception for Bridget Jones. The journal entries read almost like someone has peered into *my* head and dressed up my thoughts in a funny suit. Loved it! Read it a long time ago when I was 13 or 14, but
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now reading it at 21, it was even better!
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LibraryThing member ohdani
This book, while well-written, will not appeal to a large audience. If you are a 30-something woman, unmarried, borderline-alcoholic, with a dead-end job, annoying mother, and continual feminist-like outrage that you enjoy loudly and drunkenly ranting about with your friends, then you will love
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this. If you are not all of the above, you probably will just want it to be over with.
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LibraryThing member bookwormygirl
So I picked up Bridget Jones's Diary because I just simply wanted to read and laugh a little and enjoy a lot and I was not disappointed. I have seen the movies and I definitely enjoyed them - but I've always wanted to get a deeper feeling for Bridget and thus the book has been one that I've wanted
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to read for quite some time now.

Bridget Jones's Diary is just that - her diary entries which span a year in time. Every entry not only has what's going on in her life but also counts her calories, cigarette intake, and how much booze she drinks. Now let me tell you that just those little numbers were a crack-up. You could definitely tell what kind of a day she was having by how many cigarettes or how many drinks she had.

There were so many things that I truly enjoyed about this book:
Characters that I could relate to; weighing oneself every single day, being infatuated with a guy who's no good for you, knowing it, and still obsessing over him to the point where you get no work done; good friends who love and protect you and will do anything for you (including lie to you) if the need arises; parents who try to hook you up with anyone of the opposite sex because they are terrified that you are spiraling headfirst into spinsterhood.

Bridget Jones's Diary is all that it was said to be and more. It is funny and original with a likable, funny, yet slightly neurotic heroine... just the way I like them.

I'll end it at this, it was V. good. :)
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LibraryThing member petulant_seraph
I think the hype and the 'chick lit' label put me off.
I grudgingly admit I rather enjoyed this :( worth the 20p charity shop purchase
LibraryThing member hockeycrew
I didn't believe those who told me I would love the book, but I did... much more than the movie. Bridget is so funny, a real in the book. Easy to relate to as a single girl.
LibraryThing member sarathena1
I REALLY liked this book. This was the very first "chic-lit" book that I ever read and after I read it, I started picking up more...though I have to admit, Fielding's last novel turned me off to the whole genre. But, I'm not discussing Olivia Joules. Instead, I'm discussing Bridget Jone's.
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Remarkably well written and witty. A true gem in the field...no wonder it started the whole chic-lit craze. Highly recommend.
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LibraryThing member Bookmarque
This is exactly the kind of woman I am very glad not to be. She goes along with everything she hates. Like the parties of the Smug Marrieds where she knows she’ll be put through hell. She is mostly put through hell because she seems to lack the ability to tell people off. She thinks about
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shocking things to say but she doesn’t say them. If she would, she would suffer far less.

She worries about what people think so much that she can’t form her own opinions. She constantly puts herself in the 3rd person and thinks from the outside viewpoint. It’s women like this with no self-esteem that can’t go out without makeup on because they are convinced they are not good enough as they are. I’m so glad this isn’t me.

It was funny to read though.
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LibraryThing member Wanderlust_Lost
This book was very funny. I expected a lot less because I really hated the movies, but this book was quite well written and quite funny. However I still wouldn't rate it terribly high. Although it was funny, much funnier than I expected, I didn't expect a lot. And despite being well-written and
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amusing it's not actually a good book. If you like girly books and want a laugh this book is perfect. Especially good for a summer holiday read I should think, but if you want something spectacular give it a miss. It's not my cup of tea. I plan on donating it. And if I don't plan on keeping a book it's probably because it was really rubbish.
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LibraryThing member rampaginglibrarian
not sure what more i can say about this--except that i loved it--oh well call me a conformist (oh please don't)

Awards

Pages

288

ISBN

014028009X / 9780140280098
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