In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with silver title on the spine.
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Bridget Jones wants to have it all – and once she’s given up smoking and got down to 8st 7 she will. Based on Helen Fielding’s diary in the Independent newspaper, this is a novel about a year in the life of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement and Inner Poise.
Review: In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and “Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way).” In 365 days, she gained 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year’s resolution–the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their email flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be non-existent.
At the beginning of Helen Fielding’s exceptionally funny second novel, the thirtyish publishing puffette is suffering from postholiday stress syndrome but determined to find Inner Peace and poise. Bridget will, for instance, “get up straight away when wake up in mornings.” Now if only she can survive the party her mother has tricked her into–a suburban fest full of “Smug Marrieds’ ‘ professing concern for her and her fellow “Singletons”–she’ll have made a good start. As far as she’s concerned, “We wouldn’t rush up to them and roar, ‘How’s your marriage going? Still having sex?'”
This is only the first of many disgraces Bridget will suffer in her year of performance anxiety (at work and at play, though less often in bed) and living through other people’s “emotional fuckwittage.” Her twin-set-wearing suburban mother, for instance, suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress, while our heroine herself spends half the time overdosing on Chardonnay and feeling like “a tragic freak.” Bridget Jones’s Diary began as a column in the London Independent and struck a chord with readers of all sexes and sizes. In strokes simultaneously broad and subtle, Helen Fielding reveals the lighter side of despair, self-doubt, and obsession, and also satirises everything from self-help books (they don’t sound half as sensible to Bridget when she’s sober) to feng shui, Cosmopolitan-style. She is the Nancy Mitford of the 1990s, and it’s impossible not to root for her endearing heroine. On the other hand, one can only hope that Bridget will continue to screw up and tell us all about it for years and books to come. –Kerry Fried,
Helen Fielding (born Morley, Yorkshire, 19 February 1958) is an English novelist and screenwriter, best known as the creator of the fictional character Bridget Jones, and a sequence of novels and films beginning with the life of a thirty-something singleton in London trying to make sense of life and love. Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999) were published in 40 countries and sold more than 15 million copies. The two films of the same name achieved international success. In a survey conducted by The Guardian newspaper, Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was published in autumn 2013 with record-breaking first-day sales in the UK exceeding 46,000 copies. It occupied the number one spot on The Sunday Times bestseller list for six months. In her review for The New York Times review, Sarah Lyall called the novel “sharp and humorous” and said that Fielding had “allowed her heroine to grow up into someone funnier and more interesting than she was before”. Late 2016 saw the release of the third movie: Bridget Jones’s Baby. On 11 October 2016, and the publication of Fielding’s sixth novel, Bridget Jones’ Baby: the Diaries based on Fielding’s original columns in The Independent newspaper on which the movie — which broke UK box office records — was based.
In a 2004 poll for the BBC, Fielding was named the 29th most influential person in British culture. In December 2016, the BBC’s Woman’s Hour included Bridget Jones as one of the seven women who had most influenced British female culture over the last seven decades.
Fielding grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, a textile town on the outskirts of Leeds in the north of England. Her father was managing director of a textile factory, next door to the family home, that produced cloth for miners’ donkey jackets. He died in 1982 and her mother, Nellie, remained in Yorkshire, passing away in September 2021.
Fielding attended Wakefield Girls’ High School, one of the Grammar Schools in the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation. She has three siblings, Jane, David and Richard.
Fielding studied English at St Anne’s College, Oxford and was part of the Oxford revue at the 1978 Edinburgh Festival, forming a continuing friendship with a group of comic performers and writers including Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson.
Fielding began work at the BBC in 1979 as a regional researcher on the news magazine Nationwide. She progressed to working as a production manager on various children’s and light entertainment shows. In 1985 Fielding produced a live satellite broadcast from a refugee camp in Eastern Sudan for the launch of Comic Relief. She also wrote and produced documentaries in Africa for the first two Comic Relief fundraising broadcasts. In 1989 she was a researcher for an edition of the Thames TV This Week series “Where Hunger is a Weapon” about the Southern Sudan rebel war. These experiences formed the basis for her debut novel, Cause Celeb.
From 1990 – 1999 she worked as a journalist and columnist on several national newspapers, including The Sunday Times, The Independent and The Telegraph. Her best-known work, Bridget Jones’s Diary, began its life as an unattributed column in The Independent in 1995. The success of the column led to four novels and three film adaptations. Fielding was part of the scriptwriting team for all three.
Fielding’s first novel, Cause Celeb was published in 1994 to great reviews but limited sales. She was struggling to make ends meet while working on her second novel, a satire about cultural divides in the Caribbean when she was approached by London’s The Independent newspaper to write a column as herself about single life in London. Fielding rejected this idea as too embarrassing and exposing and offered instead to create an imaginary, exaggerated, comic character.
Writing anonymously, she felt able to be honest about the preoccupations of single women in their thirties. The column quickly acquired a following, her identity was revealed and her publishers asked her to replace her novel about the Caribbean by a novel on Bridget Jones’s Diary. The hardback was published in 1996 to good reviews but modest sales. The paperback, published in 1997, went straight to the top of the best-seller chart, stayed there for over six months and went on to become a worldwide best-seller.
Fielding continued her columns in The Independent, and then The Daily Telegraph until 1997, publishing a second Bridget novel The Edge of Reason in November 1999. The film Bridget Jones’s Diary was released in 2001 and its sequel in 2004. Fielding contributed the further adventures of Bridget Jones for The Independent from 2005. Fielding announced in November 2012 that she was now writing a third instalment in the Bridget Jones series.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was published in the UK by Jonathan Cape and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2013. It debuted at number one on The Sunday Times bestseller list, and number seven on The New York Times bestseller list. By the time the UK paperback was published on 19 June 2014, sales had reached one million copies. The novel was shortlisted for the 15th Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, nominated in the Popular Fiction category of the National Book Award. and has been translated into 32 languages.
Fielding divides her time between London and Los Angeles. She and Kevin Curran, a writer/executive producer on The Simpsons, began a relationship in 2000 and Fielding had two children with him: Dashiell, born in February 2004, and Romy, born in July 2006. Kevin Curran died from cancer complications on 26 October 2016.
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