Book Quote Friday: Returning to the Book

     From the film, I mean.  

     I was too young for Bridget Jones the book when it came out, but was ideally placed for Bridget Jones: the Movie and Bridget Jones: the book genre/purveyor of massive pants. I knew it was a book, of course, and knew it was a classic, but never felt any great urge to seek it out as I’m not the biggest fan of chick lit or British comic writing (sorry!). However, having finished the magnificent 'City of Bohane' earlier in the week (blog post about that coming soon), I found myself on holiday in my beautiful French farmhouse with nothing to read and someone else’s bookcase to raid; i.e. THE DREAM. So, Bridget Jones’ Diary finally entered my hand.

     It’s much funnier than the film and much more sarky, witty and caustic. There were no surprises plot-wise as most of it is in the film (rather faithfully in fact), although her mother’s home shopping channel gig is actually a TV chat show segment called ‘Suddenly Single’, and the ending is slightly different, although I won’t give that away. The Mark Darcy character is far less interesting though, I felt: maybe the explicit Colin Firth link in the film is necessary to give him a bit more ummph. I didn’t really warm to him, or feel him the hero for loving Bridget ‘just as she is’ (hehe). He seemed a bit bland, to have a succession of skinny lawyer girlfriends and to be there at his parents’ anniversary party at the end. Hmm. This was pre-iconic-BBC-production-that-made-everyone-love-Mr-Darcy though, so maybe the idea we all have of Mr Darcy now is slightly different to the idea we had of him as a character then. There is a scene where Bridget and Shazza discuss Mark Darcy and Mr Darcy’s relative merits though, which is rather funny. I think the visual pun was a stroke of genius though.

     Anyway, to the quote. I felt this diary entry was rather a classic. A classic example, maybe, of often imitated, never bettered. Even if a whole genre have set out to try.

     So skip them; read this.

     I wonder if anyone can help me with one final thing: there is only one mention of rather large pants in this book, but nothing to make Bridget a shorthand reference. Are they more of a feature in the Edge of Reason? Please say yes. I’d hate for not to be the pure pop culture lit reference I have always believed it to be…

     *tiny bad language warning*

     ‘Wednesday 1 February

Bridget Jones's Diary     9st, alcohol units 9, cigarettes 28 (but will soon give up for Lent so might as well smoke self into disgusted smoking frenzy), calories 3826.

     Spent the weekend struggling to remain disdainfully buoyant after the Daniel fuckwittage debacle. I kept saying the words , ‘Self-respect’ and ‘Huh’ over and over till I was dizzy, trying to barrage out, ‘But I lurrrve him’. Smoking was v. bad. Apparently there is a Martin Amis character who is so crazily addicted that he starts wanting a cigarette even when he’s smoking one. That’s me. It was good ringing up Sharon to boast about being Mrs Iron Knickers but when I rang Tom he say straight through it and said, ‘Oh, my poor darling,’ which made me go silent trying not to burst into self-pitying tears.
     ‘You watch,’ warned Tom. ‘He’ll be gagging for it now. Gagging.’
     ‘No, he won’t,’ I said sadly. ‘I’ve blown it.’
     On Sunday went for huge, lard-smeared lunch at my parents’. Mother is bright orange and more opinionated than ever, having just returned from week in Albufeira with Una Alconbury and Nigel Coles’ wife, Audrey.
     Mum had been to church and suddenly realised in a St Paul-on-road-to-Damascus-type blinding flash that the vicar is gay.
     ‘It’s just laziness, darling,’ was her view on the whole homosexuality issue. ‘They simply can’t be bothered to relate to the opposite sex. Look at your Tom. I really think if that boy had anything about him he’d be going out with you properly instead of all this ridiculous “friends” nonsense.’
     ‘Mother,’ I said. ‘Tom has known he was a homosexual since he was ten.’
     ‘Oh, darling! Honestly! You know how people get these silly ideas. You can always talk them out of it.’


  1. I've read the book so many times... I love both it AND the film, but it's not pre-BBCP&P, it's post. Helen Fielding has said she wrote the character with Colin Firth in mind, so was amazed when he was actually cast in the film.

  2. Really? Oops, my bad!

    What do you think of his film incarnation vs. book? Does he improve on the re-read?

    Also, any idea about the pants question? :)

  3. I think she references the lake scene in the first book maybe? Definitely in the second. I've not read them for so long now! Isn't there a mention of Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle on a magazine cover, and how they're sleeping together since the filming? Maybe I imagined it.

    You're right about film-Darcy being better than book-Darcy, but I think a lot of that is down to Colin Firth's portrayal because on paper I think it - and all of the characters, for once - are an accurate reflection of their book personas on screen.

    I think the pants thing is totally film-based [unfortunately], although I could be wrong. I can't recall it jumping out at me from the book... I definitely recommend reading the second book though, it's very different from the film - much better, in my opinion.

  4. I wish I had the book here to check, but unfortunately I had to leave it in France. I don't remember a ref to the lake scene or the TV adaptation, just general comments about the similarities between Mark Darcy and Mr Darcy. I haven't read the second one (yet), so maybe it's in there? I'm really hoping the pants are too :)

    Will read it and feed back!

    Also, did you know they're making a third film (according to Wikipedia)? There's also a musical version being made for the end of this year with Sheridan Smith!

  5. (I saw your blog link thru Twitter.)

    Yep, the Mr Darcy thing is completely post-BBC-P&P, as Mark Darcy appeared in the columns the January after the BBC P&P (the first year of columns is Mark-free, substituting Matt as the one Bridget runs off with at Christmas). You can read the columns here, though fair warning on the 2005-2006 ones; they will likely make you want to punch something.

    Yes, there is a mention of CF/JE in first book (other anonymous did not imagine it). In the second book, there is the famous interview with CF and answerphone message. :)

    I think Mark definitely improves on re-reading. I love the little incidental mentions by Tom and Jude about Mark during the course of the book before Bridget meets up with him again at the Ruby Wedding in September.

    I agree that you should read The Edge of Reason. Much better than film, and modeled loosely on Jane Austen's Persuasion. Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking.

    I'm nearly 95% sure the 'big pants' thing is from the films. I can't recall much (if any) mention at all of big pants in either book. (Currently listening to unabridged audiobook read by B. Rosenblat; a delight.)

    Finally (what a jabberjaw I am!) the musical is, I think, slated for Spring 2012. Sheridan Smith (via Twitter) mentioned today was day 3 of musical workshop. Third movie in planning as well as third book. Hurrah, as Bridget might say.

    ~peppermintesse (Twitter)

  6. Wow, she really kinda loses it later on, doesn't she? Not v funny at all. Shame.

    Anyway,I think maybe what I've done is gone 'ooh, this was written ages ago, before all the screen stuff happened' and have inadvertantly blocked all TV references out of my head. It would make sense that Fielding might be inspired to write this after watching it on TV, given all the hype and everything.

    I am sad about the pants (boo) but excited to read The Edge of Reason. Will definitely give it a go soon. I love Persuasion, so that's an added draw for me. Are we excited or fearful for the musical adaptation? I can't decide if that sounds like a good thing or not...

    Btw, I'd never heard the phrase 'jabberjaw' before - it's awesome. It is now my word of the day :)

    Thanks for commenting!

  7. She seems to have gotten her groove back for Twitter, so, YAY. And due to this we (of the royal variety) are excited for musical and 3rd book/film.

    I am reminded by a friend that there is a scary corset-like pants thing that pops up for Law Council Dinner in book as well, but not (that I recall) big granny pants. (In columns, something v. funny occurs with Mark & corset thing... I shall not spoil it)

    Glad to oblige re: jabberjaw :)


  8. Ah! BJD! All I remember about reading it when it came out was that I kept waking himself up by snorty laughter at night reading it! Thanks for the reminder, time for a revisit of both books I think!

  9. Haha, how funny! Excitingly enough, BJD: TEOR (I like your acronym-ing) was recently handed to me by someone who didn't want it anymore, so onwards to the Edge of Reason I will go. It's so funny experiencing the mediums backwards.

    Glad you enjoyed the reminder :)


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