Diary By Bridget Jones


Diary By Bridget Jones Essay, Research Paper

On a good day, Bridget Jones weighs no more than 120 pounds, smokes no more than

five cigarettes, imbibes no more than three alcohol units, comes up with one or

two clever ideas at the office meeting, and checks her voice mail maybe two or

three times to see if her boyfriend has phoned. On a bad day – of which there

are many – the statistics are less satisfying. Still, the obsessive Jones

dutifully records them all in her hilarious but poignant diary: "Saturday

12 August: 129 pounds, alcohol units 3 (v.g.), cigarettes 32 (v.v. bad,

particularly since first day of giving up) . . . voice mail calls 22, minutes

spent having cross imaginary conversations with Daniel 120, minutes spent

imagining Daniel begging me to come back 90.” This thirtysomething Londoner is,

in short, the exemplar of a contemporary type: the angst-ridden, ever-dieting,

I-wonder-if-this-skirt-is-too-short-for-the- office junior executive who hears

her mother nagging and her biological clock ticking but can’t seem to find a man

who is not already married or interested merely in casual sex – or both. There’s

a lot of truth among the laughs here. That’s why the charming novel

"Bridget Jones’s Diary” has turned out to be a publishing sensation in

Britain: 50 weeks on the best-seller lists and a million copies sold. That’s why

"Bridget Jones” and her self-described marital status – "singleton”

- have entered the language here as standard parlance among her thirtyish peers

of both sexes. And that’s why "Bridget Jones’s Diary” is likely to make a

large literary splash in the United States when Viking Press publishes the book

this month. The U.S. edition has already been named a main selection of the

Book-ofthe-Month Club. Bridget’s creator, the author Helen Fielding, is set for

a busy round-robin of the major U.S. talk shows. Fielding, a former BBC producer

and freelance writer, has admitted that many of Bridget’s misadventures were

based on her own life as a London singleton. And Jones is absolutely a product

of, by and for London. When Bridget complains that she had to walk past Whistles

and buy her new outfit at Miss Selfridge instead, London readers know precisely

the state of her bank balance. The gamble, then, for Viking – and for the

publishers bringing out the diary in 16 other countries – is that there is

enough that is universal about Bridget Jones to outweigh the intensely local

parts of her story. It’s probably a good bet, at least for U.S. audiences. A

society that has made cultural icons out of Ally McBeal and Cathy Guisewite

should have no trouble accepting Bridget Jones as a soul sister. There is no

doubt that Bridget and her various obsessions are alive and thriving in the

midpriced one-bedroom apartments of Washington, Denver, Seattle and probably

every other U.S. city. There are certainly plenty of Americans who will bond

with Bridget when they read of her emotional ups and downs on the weekend (the

sadly typical weekend) of Jan. 6-8. First, we see Bridget’s reaction Friday

afternoon at the office when a handsome executive at her publishing company

sends a computer message asking for her home telephone number. "Yesssss!

Yesssss!” Bridget records in her diary. "Daniel Cleaver wants my phone no.

Am marvelous. Am irresistible Sex Goddess. Hurrah!” The next entry, on Sunday,

Jan. 8, tells what happened next. "Oh God, why am I so unattractive?

Hideous, wasted two days glaring psychopathically at the phone and eating

things. Why hasn’t he rung? Why? What’s wrong with me?” The editors at Viking

have decided that moments like that require no translation. Still, they have

made a few changes to accommodate American readers. While Bridget measures her

weight in "stone” (a unit equaling 14 pounds), the U.S. edition will

convert the figure to "pounds.” A London production company called Working

Title, which made "Four Weddings and a Funeral,” is gearing up to turn

"Bridget Jones’s Diary” into a movie.

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