This Review contains spoilers.
“It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting ‘Cathy’ and banging your head against a tree.”
Series: Bridget Jones
Published: 2013, by Pan MacMillan Publishers Ltd.
Length: 8hrs 27mins (Narrated by Imogen Church)
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Humour, Contemporary
Contains: Strong Language, Mentions of suicide, Alcohol, Calorie Counting
‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ tells the lighthearted tale of Bridget Jones, a single, thirty-year-old attempting to navigate life successfully, amongst her more-so successful friends and family. Desperate for romance and eternal happiness, she finds herself in situations that only seem to reinforce how single and ageing she is.
I started this book over two months ago, it being the first audio-book I’ve ever had and decided it best be something I could reference in my dissertation. However, I’ve regretted downloading it ever since.
Before I start with my highly unpopular opinion of the multitude of reasons why I hate this book with a fiery passion, I’ll just say this; I understand. I completely understand why it’s a beloved modern classic. Bridget Jones has become an iconic, relatable character of the modern age. She’s a independent lady in the thirties, who day-drinks and chain-smokes and hates her mother. I mean, what’s not to love, right?
Believe it or not, the majority of my hatred for this book doesn’t dwell too much on Bridget Jones herself. I mean, I could rant about her selfishness, her naivety, and her cowardice for a long time. However, that’s not why Helen Fielding’s character managed to immediately make me want to stop listening around five minutes into the story.
At the beginning of each entry of her diary, Bridget would list her weight, her alcohol/cigarette intake and the number of calories she had consumed that day. Perfectly fine, it being something I have done in the past and considering the character is on a diet it is not anything out of the norm. However, at the beginning of the novel she was constantly being described as fat by herself and her loved ones, before losing a few pounds. At this point, she is my weight and was described as too skinny. This here is why I hate this book. By stating what’s fat or skinny in so much detail, that can be mirrored in real life, alienates a large demographic of potential readers. The weight Bridget Jones was at when describing herself as fat is the average weight for a woman, a healthy weight, and then to make her lose a few pounds and being immediately described as skinny and told ‘she looked better before’ is disgusting. As a reader who has struggled with her weight and appearance for many years now, it was extremely triggering for me to read, which is one of the reasons it took me so long to finish this book.
Another reason why I felt alienated by this book was the language used when speaking of homosexuals. There was a few times where a controversial line would be used, already sounding out of place in the usual rambles of Bridget and I had to take a moment to adjust before tuning in again. (Note: I didn’t care to note down the timing the lines came up when listening, so I apologise for the lack of sources)
“I think I may love Perpetua, though not in a lesbian way.”
“Do you have to be a puff to enter?”
Really, Bridget? Considering the main plot line of this book is you hopelessly lusting after different men, was it really necessary to state that you weren’t a lesbian? As a homosexual woman myself, it kind of got to me. This book has been known worldwide as a lovable, relatable work of Chick Lit and the idea of adoring readers reading that line hurt. My sexuality is not a punchline and I can’t tolerate the use it was used in here. Also, the use of the word ‘puff’ was another thing that stuck out to me, yet that may have just been because of the timing the novel was written. Still not acceptable, but it didn’t irk me as much as the previous line did.
Overall, it’s pretty clear to see how much I hated reading this book. It was harmful, cringe-worthy and plot-less. The only plus was Imogen Church’s narration, beautifully read with entertaining dialects, but I’ll definitely be looking into returning my audio-book as soon as possible.