Seasonal Books 3: Bridget Jones’s Diary

Ah Bridget, what would New Year’s Resolutions be without you and your fine example? How could we think of ringing in another year without revisiting the Turkey Curry Buffet? Bridget Jones’s Diary, either the movie version or the book (in my opinion they are equally good) is quintessential holiday fare, especially for the single female.

BJD is a great read and re-read partially because of Helen Fielding’s adept use of language. I’m always in slight awe of the consistent tone of the diary — Fielding does not break cover. I’ve read all of Fielding’s books — there are only four — and I think BJD is the best of them. Part of this is the consistent tone and the interesting family plots, but there are also interesting literary references throughout the book. The most obvious references are to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. The casting of the movie with Colin Firth as Mark Darcy is beyond brilliant. (Also note that the writer for the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice is also on the writing team for the movie version of BJD.) There is another literary reference that I wonder about. I wonder where Fielding got the name Bridget Jones to begin with. Henry Fielding (1707-1758) wrote a novel called Tom Jones, which has a key character called Bridget. H. Fielding – X Jones. Hmm. No one has commented on this in print as far as I can see. Most people just ooh and ah at the layers of meta-fiction between Bridget and P&P both print and movie versions.

Apparently Helen Fielding spawned the “Chick Lit” genre single-handedly with the publication of BJD. I’d have to do a bit more research to find out whether that assessment is actually true. It is interesting that no-one has a genre category for books like About A Boy when it is (in my mind anyway) very much like BJD but with a male lead instead of a female lead. I’ve been trying to think of a gender-neutral genre label that has the same sort of snap that “Chick Lit” has, but have been thus far unsuccessful. Still thinking. Any suggestions?

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1 Comment

Filed under favourites, fiction

One response to “Seasonal Books 3: Bridget Jones’s Diary

  1. Someone has privately suggested “Twit Lit” as a genre category for Bridget and About a Boy. I like this but it may be have a tiny bit of a negative tone. Other thoughts?

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