Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bridget Jones

Recently I reread Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason for book club. I haven't read them for about 10 years so it was fun to revisit them, and read back-to-back. This time around the social satire of both books really struck me more than ever before. And they're just so, SO funny. The humor really holds up. I laughed and laughed. Fielding is so great at writing line after line of really hilarious sentences and situations:  "Realize it is no longer possible for smokers to live in dignity, instead being forced to sulk in the slimy underbelly of existence." 


"How many alcohol units to do you drink a week?" said "Rebel": Brad Pitt-style whippersnapper fitness assessor as I sat trying to hold in stomach in bra and pants.
"Fourteen to twenty-one," I lied smoothly, at which he had the nerve to flinch.

 Personally I think The Edge of Reason is even funnier than the first book - the bit in the Thai prison and the interview with Colin Firth are sososososo funny. But, I think there's a lot more to these books than lolz - what I find most impressive is how they're absolutely steeped in British literature tradition - BJD is, of course, based on Pride and Prejudice and The Edge of Reason is loosely based on Persuasion.  In England there is also a long history of serialized novels in the papers, and that's also how BJD began in 1995.  So while the books are often dismissed as the first "chick lit", I think the reality is that Bridget Jones is an incredibly smart satire firmly rooted in British tradition, continuing a trend Jane Austen started several centuries ago about the difficulty single women face in a world where (heterosexual) coupling is the normative expectation.

So, as you may or may not know, Helen Fielding is writing a 3rd Bridget Jones novel (!!!!!!!) called Mad About the Boy, due out in October. Judging by the cover art (little toys, stuffed bear) everyone thinks there's a baby in this one... Truthfully, I hope not, because I find mommy fiction really boring and I hate stories that end like and they had a baby and that's the end because what more could you possibly want out of life? I did a bit of internet snooping and Fielding has two kids, so, I wouldn't be surprised if the story goes that way. ALSO, did you know that a follow-up to the 2nd book was published in The Independent, serial style, in 2006? In the 2006 version (spoiler alert), Bridget Jones has like a short break up from Mark Darcy, meets Daniel in a bar and immediately gets sprogged. I tried really hard to read it but it was kind of boring and it ended pretty much as I have previously described. But, you can read the whole thing if you want to.

Well, even though I'm not excited about the possible continuation of that particular story line, you can bet I still want to be one of the first to get my hands on that book!