Saturday, November 12, 2011
Bridget Jones's Diary
I finally finished this book a few days ago. Stephanie at Chick Lit Club suggested it for me back in September.
I was supposed to like this. I know enough about chick lit to know that Fielding's book is a basic text. Bridget created some themes and motifs that show up in nearly every work of the genre. Bridget is a fish out of water who does not feel at home at work, with her family, or in an intimate relationship. Her only salvation is her friends. They are her chosen family.
Also, Bridget is on a quest. She wants to love and be loved, to have a career where she is fulfilled, and to be comfortable in her own skin. She imagines she can accomplish these things by losing weight, quitting smoking, learning to cook, and generally turning herself into the kind of woman she believes men will find desirable.
She is wrong, of course, and that is what saves Bridget from being a caricature. She is our Gilgamesh- one of the first characters to exemplify the elements of chick lit, and an archetype who has a presence in other works of the genre.
That's why I say I was supposed to like Bridget Jones's Diary. I am a student of women's books, and this is an important part of that canon. I will probably revisit this book at some point, but this time it was a struggle to get through. I kept wanting Bridget to see how worthwhile she was and stop making herself vulnerable for the wrong people (like her boss Daniel, if you've read the book).
What about you? What was the last popular book that you found challenging? Is there more to Bridget Jones than I can see?