I have never been a big fan of Bridget Jones to be honest. Renee Zellweger's portrayal of the klutzy, down-on-luck, slightly overweight British singleton in her 30s and her discernibly fake British accent did not help. Sure she received an Academy award nomination for her role, however that does not change my opinion. I only remember the movie for Colin Firth.
But this book made me see Bridget in a different light. Sure she is a bit on the pudgy side, clumsy, alcoholic with fabulously bad culinary skills but she does not discard her self-esteem right away in return for Daniel Cleaver's affections in the beginning. I'm impressed that the author deliberately did not make Bridget the quintessential, 'beautifully anorexic'
girl but a woman with numerous flaws and yet chose to give her an acute sense of self-importance. Bridget does obsess about losing weight but at least she never goes ballistic trying to lose it or go "I'm so fat"
every two seconds. She is more or less happy and comfortable in her skin and that is what separates her from the hordes of chick-lit heroines out there.
Bridget's hilarious observations on the problems faced by single women, relationships, married people, her parents' marital woes and even trifles like Christmas presents make this book an absolute laugh riot. Whereas the movie focuses too much on Bridget as a laughably clumsy woman who never gets anything right and I was forced to wonder what Daniel Cleaver and especially Mark Darcy found attractive about her. The book served as the clarification in this case since Mark Darcy clearly states how Bridget is not 'lacquered over'
like other women which is why he likes her. Whereas in the movie he declares 'I like you very much...just as you are'
which sounded extremely cliched and unreal in my opinion.
I was about 60% through with the novel when the plot started to drag. Bridget and Daniel's relationship went in limbo and I kept waiting for something to happen which would carry the story forward. Then came the bad part when Bridget began screwing up one thing after the other in exceptionally embarrassing ways and I was almost feeling sorry for Mark Darcy for having been designated to end up with her. And the worst part was, how one phone call from Daniel swayed Bridget to the point of momentarily making her forget his shameless infidelity. Hated her for it. That is why the 5-star rating drops to a 4-star in my case.
But even so, Bridget Jones is one of the best specimens of chick-lit out there since it is free from the banality of American chick-lit tropes, interlaced with a generous dosage of trademark English humour. And behind the facade of a rom-com, it is able to bring to light a few rather grim aspects of lives of women in their 30s and women in general.