Bridget Jones's Diary is a 1996 novel by Helen Fielding. Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman living in London. She writes (often humorously) about her career, self-image, vices, family, friends, and romantic relationships.
The main focus of plot is Bridget's love life. Her view divides the world into "Singletons," — unmarried and romantically unattached people, of whom she is one — and "Smug Marrieds," by whom she is surrounded. She worries on a regular basis about dying alone and going on to be eaten by dogs when her singleness causes her death not to be discovered promptly, an obsession that a USA Today reviewer called "one of [Bridget's] more cheerful daydreams". However, during the course of the year she becomes involved in two romantic relationships. The first is with her charming and handsome boss Daniel Cleaver, who eventually cheats on Bridget with a younger, more conventionally attractive woman. Bridget's second relationship is with the stuffy human-rights barrister Mark Darcy, whom she initially dislikes when they are reintroduced at a New Year's party where her mother reminds them they were childhood playmates. These two men are connected by more than their relationships with Bridget, as Fielding reveals near the end of the novel.
Bridget not only obsesses about her love life, but also details her various daily struggles with her weight, her over-indulgence in alcohol and cigarettes, and her career. At the beginning of the novel she is employed in the publishing industry, but after her breakup with Daniel she quits and begins working, somewhat accidentally, as a journalist for a local television station. Bridget's friends and family are the supporting characters in her diary. Her best friends are Shazzer, a strident feminist; Jude, a highly successful business woman; and Tom, a gay man. These friends are there for her unconditionally throughout the novel; they give her advice about her relationships, and support when problems arise. Her friends are essentially her surrogate family in London. Bridget's parents live outside of the city, and while they play a lesser role than her friends, they are important figures in Bridget's life. Her mother is an overconfident, doting woman who is constantly trying to marry Bridget off to a rich, handsome man; and her father is considerably more down-to-earth, though he is sometimes driven into uncharacteristically unstable states of mind by his wife. Bridget often visits her parents, as well as her parents' friends, primarily Geoffrey and Una Alconbury; Geoffrey creates a mildly uncomfortable situation for Bridget by insisting she call him "Uncle Geoffrey" despite his propensity to grope her rear end whenever they meet. In these situations, Bridget is often plagued with that perennial question "How's your love life?" and exposed to the eccentricities of middle class British society, manifested in Turkey Curry Buffets and Tarts and Vicars parties in which the women wear sexually provocative ("tart") costumes, while the men dress as Anglican priests ("vicars"). The novel is based on Pride and Prejudice.
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