Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Bridget Jones's Diary is a 1996 romantic comedy novel written by English novelist and screenwriter Helen Fielding. It chronicles a year in the life of a thirty-something single career woman named Bridget Jones, who lives and works in London and decides to start writing a diary about her appearance, her job, her friends and family, and her romantic relationships.

The story is separated into 12 chapters (one for each month of the year), written in the form of a diary. Fielding’s style is rather informal, relaxed, and conversional, and at one point the reader might feel that Bridget is writing her diary for it to be read by other people. Bridget starts with her New Year resolutions to lose weight, drink less, quit smoking, get a better job, and get a boyfriend. Thus, every chapter begins with an update on her weight, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and her romantic and career progress. Essentially, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a story about self-improvement, optimism, and the people’s never-ending quest for love, success, and happiness.

The novel received tremendous commercial success, and by 2006, two million copies were sold worldwide. It gained generally positive reviews, mainly because of its light, entertaining, humorous, and easy-to-read narrative and its interesting plot twists. The novel also won a few literary awards and received several musical and film adaptations, with the most notable one being the 2001 eponymous film starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth.

Despite all of its successes, the novel received some criticism as well. Some readers and analysts argue that the plot is quite predictable and resembles a soap opera and that the ending feels a bit too rushed. Fielding was criticized for her under-developed and one-dimensional characters, with some readers claiming that she portrayed her main protagonist as a weak, dependent, self-centered, insecure, and shallow woman.

In 1999, Fielding wrote and published a sequel to the story, titled Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which follows similar themes and ideas as its predecessor.

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