Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.

Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones's Diary, offers readers this play on Jane Austen's well-known opening line to Pride and Prejudice. The first line of Austen's novel famously reads: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." By adapting this well-known line in literature to the voice and character of Bridget Jones, Fielding establishes the thematic links between Bridget's diary and Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice. Bridget desperately wants to meet an eligible single man, and in her good-natured honesty, she acknowledges at several points in her diary that she is, in fact, rather superficial. The humor of this line is poignant; though society seems to frown upon love affairs that are based on money and wealth, Bridget's authentic voice, like Austen's, inspires the reader to muse upon the practical side of love. After all, no one can deny that a life with someone who has some money is certainly easier than a life with someone who does not have any money.

I realize it has become too easy to find a diet to fit in with whatever you happen to feel like eating and that diets are not there to be picked and mixed but picked and stuck to, which is exactly what I shall begin to do once I've eaten this chocolate croissant.

This passage from Bridget Jones's Diary is a typical example of Bridget's sense of humor. In her diary, Bridget writes openly about her shameless pursuit of weight loss and a slender figure, but she still wants to eat and drink whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Bridget's inability to eat healthily is chronic, and when this tendency towards self-indulgence combines with her penetrating self-awareness, the result is often hilarious. The pattern of confessions in Bridget's diary is often comic due to this clever combination of awareness and bad decision-making. Bridget's honest and self-deprecating humor is one of the many reasons for the popularity of this book amongst readers.

One must not live one's life through men but must be complete on oneself as a woman of substance.

Bridget is aware of the political incorrectness of her persistent desire for a boyfriend who will eventually become her husband, but this awareness does not stop her desire for a happy partnership with the right man. Bridget, like many women, understands perfectly the advice disseminated by columnists, therapists and well-meaning friends. Often, this advice encourages single women to feel content in themselves and to avoid imagining a future with the right man as the answer to their problems. Though the advice is generally correct, the reality of most single women's emotional lives is more complex than some advice-givers can appreciate. Bridget's frank take on this matter, delivered in a humorous tone, also contributes to the popularity of this novel amongst women readers who can relate to Bridget's situation.

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