It is the New Year and, like many of us, Bridget Jones is outlining her New Year’s Resolution. Nothing extreme. Give up smoking. Drink less. Lose weight. Work on her career. Stop falling in love with awful men. Just generally be a better person.
While she is struggling with this, flirting with her rakish boss, Daniel, and having all her mother’s friends asking when is she finally going to get married, Bridget also has worry about her parent’s marriage falling apart. This is due to her mother, in the fit of a midlife crisis, leaving Bridget’s father, taking up a new career and a lover. A number of lovers.
With each diary entry, she records her intake of calories, units of alcohol consumed, fags smoked and anything else she seems to think is relevant.
What makes Bridget Jones’s Diary such a great book is that the main character is incredibly likeable and people connect with her easily. We all want to be better people but want to just drink loads and pig out. (Well, I do anyway.) She is lost and not sure where she’s going with her life, she’s constantly being told what to do and what will fix her life.
Maybe it’s just me but I related to the character a lot and very sympathetic to her situation. Straightaway, you are cheering for her, thinking “Come on, Bridg, don’t do it. You know better!”Her slow starting but the inevitable relation with her boss, Richard, was one of those “You know better, Bridget!” moments straightaways but I won’t go any further. Spoilers.
Imogen Church does a wonderful performance as she really goes for it in this audio book. She turns narrating this diary into a casual chat between the character and the reader, retelling how she finally dropped a ton of weight and all her friends thought she was either tired or ill. Church’s performance, I felt, broke down the almost schoolmaster to pupil relationship some narrators have, making it a better experience for the listeners. I couldn’t understand the drunk bits, which was kind of the point.
A fantastic performance, she was not afraid to lose herself in the role and made this audiobook a wonderful spectacular.
One of the big themes of this book, for me anyway, is the expectation and moving away from other people’s expectations for you. Whether it’s your parents, friends or society (look at me, on my soapbox), I felt the novel looked at finding your own goals and expectations.
From the beginning, Bridget Jones is expected to have achieved XYZ in her career and should be not far from being married with children. She is invited to a Turkey Curry Buffet (which is hilarious to say), expecting to bag a rich, successful divorcee. Working with a publishing company, she’s expected to read highbrow books and turn her nose up at the television, despite loving Eastenders and Blind Date. She’s being told by her mother how to act, speak and dress, despite herself being an awful example.
As you listen and progress through this novel, I felt Bridget realised, no one has a clue what they are talking about. I was told at uni; “opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one.” Except this one guy in America but that’s not the point. I felt Bridget found inner peace on realising that, this whole life business, everyone is making it up as they go along. There is a very good chance, I am wrong but meh.
Check out Bridget Jones’ Diary, written by the very talented Helen Fielding and performed by the spectacular Imogen Church.
P.S Bridget’s dad really should have punched that Portuguese git when he was drunk and had the best chance, just saying. Listen and you’ll understand.
Extra P.S Also, this book introduced me to this wonderful word, fuckwitage, which is absolutely brilliant and I need to use it more in my life.