Wednesday, 11 March 2009

H is for... Helen Fielding

Books read this week 1.5 (vg) cigarettes today 1 (vg but 9am so not that great) units 0 calories (not telling as is not diary but online blog)

Everyone in the whole world must have heard of Bridget Jones. Amazonian tribes will no doubt be able to pick out Ronald McDonald and Rennee Zellwegger faster than Jesus’ likeness. I’ve read this before but it was about ten years ago and I fancied something light after George’s trek through destitution.
Light I wanted, and light I got. It’s a couple of hundred pages of fluff, where an apparently podgy girl (overweight at 9st? How tall is she, 3foot nothing?) battles with life, love and her basic lack of willpower as well as a failure to recognise a good thing where she sees it.
Fielding has coined a couple of phrases which have made their way into our everyday language – “Smug Marrieds” for people who happen to have got it together enough to get married is one example. I suppose “Singleton” could be atrributed to Fielding too, but don’t quote me on that.
The fact that it’s a diary gives me the reason I dislike it. Bridget is whiny, self obssesed and generally useless. She stumbles from job to job, failing to learn from past mistakes and expecting someone to come along and swoop her off her feet. Of course, it’s only told from her point of view, and how reliable is that? However, if she comes across as whiny in her own diary, I’d hate to think how she comes across in real life. I’ll bet she’s the Sloane at the bar drinking cocktails and shouting to her three equally Sloaney friends sitting three inches away.
Perhaps I’m not being entirely fair. Bridget and the rest of her saga (which continues into Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason, fact fans) represents a large part of the population, no matter what gender or job or accent, even if it’s a fleeting thought or a bad decision you once made.
The annoying thing about it is that she is, in face, swept (swoopt?) off her feet by the rich, handsome and successful Mr Darcy. One thing I do enjoy about the BJ (teehee) series is that she loves Pride & Prejudice, where Colin Firth played Darcy, which Bridget watches regularly. In the films, Mr Darcy is played by Colin Firth… Meta-textual overload…

No matter how irritating Bridget is, I just can’t help enjoying her stumbles through life and, as always, the slightly abhorrent protagonist is saved by her friends. Countless times, Bridget’s friends come to her rescue. In one episode, she offers to make birthday dinner for everyone, fails to prepare (prepare to fail, as the old adage goes) forgets all of the ingredients, burns everything and basically gets in amassive muddle. Her friends, knowing her as well as they do, collect her from her disastorous flat, tidy up the mess and take her out for a slap up meal. That’s what friends are for, and she can’t be that annoying if she has friends like that, can she? Can she?

For the eagle eyed readers, the half book I read was Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind up bird chronicle”. I read Fielding first, and thought I’d tale advantage of my six hour travel to read Murakami too. Unfortunately, I didn’t bargain for a) a hefty tome of 500 pages and b) four hours of sleep the night before the journey back.
I will definitely finish it soon.

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