Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #31: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

This is the book that launched a thousand chick lit novels, which I sort of hate myself for even saying because the term “chick lit” makes me want to gouge out my own eyes, as well as the eyes of whoever invented it, but, well, this book is responsible for every book since that follows the “girl-meets-guy-hates-guy-falls-for-scoundrel-oh-wait-first-guy-isn’t-so-bad-after-all” model.

Full disclosure: I have read this book approximately 1.7 billion times so it’s impossible for me to be objective about it. I usually end up reading it either right before or right after reading or watching Pride & Prejudice, or I suddenly have to read it because I heard It’s Raining Men somewhere (you’re welcome for that clip).

There was a time, back in college, when I first read this book, that I thought I’d end up much like Bridget Jones, single well into my 30s, still drinking too much and eating too much and, you know, making bad decisions re: career, lovelife, etc. Somehow I found someone who doesn’t mind (even enjoys!) dealing with my nonsense, but though I’m not still stuck in the dating world (thank god), I still identify with Bridget’s crazy shenanigans, mostly because, if I ever got to interview Colin Firth (um, spoiler alert for the 2nd book), I’d behave exactly as Bridget did. Or worse.

Anyway! That’s in the second book! Why am I talking about that? Good question! Let’s move on.

Bridget Jones’s Diary, for those who don’t know, is a book about a 30-something woman named Bridget Jones (duh) who keeps a diary (double duh) for a year, meaning we get an inside look at all of her trials and embarrassments and deep, dark thoughts.

It’s also based on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which is why there’s a character named Mark Darcy, who is played by Colin Firth in the movie and Colin Firth, as everyone should know, IS Mr. Darcy because of that one time he was in the BBC Pride & Prejudice miniseries that aired a million years ago but it doesn’t even matter how long ago it was, Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy which is just too bad for him, isn’t it? I mean, he’s an Oscar winner now. He played a king! But no, he’ll always be that super cross, prideful son-of-a-bitch from two hundred years ago.

For whatever reason, when a friend and I first read Bridget Jones’s Diary, we latched onto it like…I don’t know, something that really likes another thing. We read the book and then saw the movie and then watched the P&P miniseries and we once spent like an hour in the bathroom of our dorm drunkenly discussing how dreamy Mr. Darcy is. I wish I could remember that conversation but I can’t (I’m sure it was a real brain-burner), though I did have some evidence of it the next morning, because we’d drunk-emailed some friends and those emails contained the following sentences:

“Mr. Darcy is a harthrap.”

and

“Mr. Darcy is the hit of my pants.”

I’ve never been prouder of anything I’ve ever written. Why WOULDN’T you want to read a book that led to those sentences? Just in case you’re still on the fence, though, here are some great things about this book that don’t involve Mr. Darcy:

1. Daniel Cleaver
2. The term “emotional fuckwittage”
3. Bridget’s dad
4. Bridget’s friends
5. It’s a really quick read, and you know how busy you are
6. Mr. Darcy I’M SORRY I CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM I MEAN LOOK HOW CROSS HE IS:


Also, as fun bonus trivia, Bridget’s friend Tom in the movie is played by James Callis, who later played Dr. Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. So. Make of that what you will.

My point is, you should read this, with a cocktail or seven, and then you should watch the movie and THEN you should read and watch Pride & Prejudice, just to get the entire experience.

OK? v.g.

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13 thoughts on “Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #31: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

  1. What a great review. I’ve only seen the movie, but now that is all about to change – thanks!

  2. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I only love the book slightly less and that’s because it doesn’t have music or Colin Firth.

    • Agreed — but I’d add Gaius Baltar and the wonderful Jim Broadbent to that list. I just love him as Bridget’s dad.

      • baxlala on said:

        I love all of those things! That movie is one that I’m so glad I still love as much as I did the first time I saw it. You know how sometimes you outgrow your favorite movies? I don’t see that happening with this one (thank you, Colin Firth).

  3. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie but I will now because I love Mr. Darcy and P&P.

  4. I haven’t read this book in AGES, but I do remember when I first discovered the book (my Mum got it before it became a film and had sequels and so forth) and I remember laughing so hard at certain bits that I got strange looks on public transport.

    My favourite quote is still: “It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting “Cathy” and banging your head against a tree.”

    • Oh, and excellent review! I especially love the bit about the drunken e-mails. To be fair, Mr. Darcy is pretty likely the hit of many a woman’s pants. 😀

      • baxlala on said:

        PS: Thank you! I wonder what Jane Austen would think of women today lusting after Mr. Darcy?

    • baxlala on said:

      That’s one of my favorite quotes, too! I love books that can make you laugh out loud in public. It’s like your brain doesn’t even care that it’s embarrassing you. Hee.

  5. This review! I love it. My mom and sister used to watch P&P biannually, which I now recognize as being some sort of white girl porn ritual. But then again, my white girl porn ritual is watching Mark Darcy say “oh yes, they fucking do” on repeat, so who am I to judge?

    • He really is the dreamiest. Have you ever seen Lost in Austen? It’s on Netflix Instant (or at least it used to be) and I’m a little embarrassed about how much I loved it.

      My favorite is to watch P&P when I’m sick. It’s like comfort food. Or, you know, comfort TV. Whatever.

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