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Bridget Jones Diary

A friend of mine lent me her copy of Bridget Jones' Diary with the assurance that even if I didn't like it, it would only take a couple of hours to read. This was a correct assessment; I don't believe I have ever read such a short novel for an adult audience.

Ever since, I have worried that I would find myself dropping the articles out of my sentences. I have also pictured Helen Fielding as someone who should be checking the sky frequently as she walks around, since she's due a meteorite to balance out her totally undeserved good luck in this book becoming an international bestseller.

This is not to say that I didn't like it; I found it quite funny in places. But it in no way deserves the amounts of hype it appears to have received from that miniscule portion of the public that still reads. It was predictable; where it wasn't predictable it relied on wholly ridiculous plot developments; and the diary framework freed Fielding from bothering with any of what are normally considered the finer points of character and prose style. It reads like the light comedy it is; the word "meringue" kept coming to my mind when I tried to describe it.

Reasonably well-done meringue, though; some of the lines and images are quite priceless. I'm even contemplating seeing the movie. The end left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, to extend the metaphor. I am a touch bothered by the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too attitude toward feminism—the desire to simultaneously be in total control of one's own destiny and be rescued by knights in shining armor. Bridget's problem is not that she is thirty years old, single, and perpetually unhappy with her body; it's that she's thirty years old and has the mental scope of the average college sophomore.

I may, however, be taking it a bit more seriously than intended.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson