Once upon a time, there were videotapes instead of DVDs. And places to rent those tapes, where my sister found ‘Bridget Jones Diary‘. Or maybe it was Edge of reason first, I don’t really remember. Anyway, we met Bridget Jones totally random and fell in love straight away.
Embarrassing detail: It took me about 10 years to realize that Bridget Jones is based on Pride and Prejudice.
I pretty sure everybody knows who Bridget Jones is, even when all you know is that Bridget Jones is ‘that’ film. Which was amazing, Renee Zellweger will forever be Bridget Jones in my eyes. It was just too perfect. In short: Bridget Jones is about a woman in her thirties, who is very naive, funny and insecure. It takes places in the nineties when you could still smoke everywhere and there was no internet nor cell phones. Landlines were still very much used and there was no caller-id, but 1471 to check who called you last. Needless to say: it was used a lot in the book.
This will be the first out of a series of three, with next week Bridget Jones: Edge of reason!
What’s great about Bridget, is the how she manages to describe her family and friend, and by default herself, in a way that is so relatable and understandable. You get how Bridget became so insecure and where she’s got her nativity from. Because it’s written in a diary form, you really get sucked into Bridget’s way of thinking and while reading the novel, I myself got a bit insecure as well (Although I’m nothing like Bridget, I think the feeling of loneliness and being insecure is very recognizable).
I’m no good at anything. Not men. Not social skills. Not work. Nothing.
She’s suddenly beautiful.
Bridget does not feel like she measures up to her mother (Pam, in her sixties, living the traditional mom-life, but feels lost and underappreciated now her kids left home) or her married friends (like Magda, although during the novel it becomes clear that marriage isn’t all that either) and thinks the traditional life (husband at work, wife at home with the kids and the cooking) is to be sought after. However, she forgets that she isn’t suited for that life and in her core doesn’t want it. As a result, she keeps trying to change, to fit her ideal image, but failing spectacularly.
Bridget’s luck is that she has some amazing friends, who love her just the way she is and support her always, even when they’re giving horrific advice. Bridget herself is a pretty good friend as well, and very involved in her friends’ lives. This way you get a real feel of who they are as persons, but not in the standard ‘ I work here or there and enjoy going for martini’s’ kind of way. Obviously, you get to know them as Bridget does, so it’s more about their strengths and daily interactions. And how dysfunctional they all are in the love area, which is almost impressive.
“I know we’re all psychotic, single and completely dysfunctional and it’s all done over the phone,’ Tom slurred sentimentally, ‘but it’s a bit like a family, isn’t it?”
The book is always better
The book is quite different from the film. Apart from the standard dialogue and characters missing/merged together, the books have a very different road towards the ending than the movie does and it actually involves a real crime. Which is more in line with the pride and prejudice storyline, since it took Darcy and Elizabeth a fleeing sister to get together.
It feels more like an actual diary (which isn’t too strange, since I’ve read that Helen Fielding created Bridget for a weekly newspaper column which ran for 10 years). One thing I noticed about the book is that Bridget keeps writing about being late. Like: ‘I should be on the other end of the city in 10 minutes and it takes 25 to get there, oh no’, but keeps writing 3 pages about the night before.
Lastly: the cheating scene is a bit more plausible than in the movie (who’s reading a gigantic book, while in someone’s bathroom, when you know they’re cheating? Like, huh? Is that an American thing?). I rewatched the scene for this and only just noticed the book she’s reading is from ‘Pemberly press’. Love the details.
All in all
Even though Bridget Jones is very clearly set in the nineties, the theme’s are timeless. It’s obviously based around Pride and Prejudice, except that Elizabeth was never so unsure of herself. This insecurity, with the overbearing mom, the stress of working and maintaining a social life and the stress of dating, make that Bridget Jones is still a relevant book almost 20 years later.
I’m still in love with Miss Jones and probably always be. Do you have any fictional character you can’t let go?