Helen Fielding,
Bridget Jones's Diary
(Picador, 1996; Penguin, 1999)

Bridget Jones's Diary takes the reader through a year in the life of a 30-something single British woman as she struggles with her career, relationships, friends and family.

The format of Diary is simple to read. Every day is broken down with how much she weighs, number of pounds gained or lost, alcohol units she consumed that day, cigarettes smoked and calories consumed. After all that, she tells the day's events, which usually centers on some man, her mother annoying her or going out to drink with friends.

The weighing in every morning, obsessing about food, was really unnecessary. How much gain or lost gets old after the 10th time. This is over-exaggerated; real women (hopefully) do not act like this. Who counts their cigarettes, calories, alcohol units, daily lottery tickets, 1471 calls and negative thoughts? Bridget shouldn't be writing in a diary, she should be seeing a shrink for her compulsive behavior disorder and obsessions.

Diary does have good points and funny moments that any woman can relate to, such as Bridget's mom and family who ask her about her love life every time they see her, giving her pointers and setting her up on dates. She also has a close-knit group of friends going through similar trials and tribulations, including the stereotypical gay man for a best friend.

The book takes place in London, which means some translations are necessary. (A "fag" is a cigarette and "1471" calls are similar to *69 calls in the U.S.) However, once you figure this all out, Diary turns out to be a good book to read. Just remember that not all women are like this!

A movie based on Diary is currently in post-production with Renee Zellweger playing the part of Bridget Jones, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, and Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver. The movie doesn't have a definite set release date but is expected sometime in 2001.

[ by Felonice Merriman ]

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