I am finding it very difficult to contain my astronomical excitement about the news that there is going to be a new Bridget Jones book this year. Hang on, before you all start running off moaning about ‘chick lit’ and all that guff, this is Bridget, so often imitated but never bettered. The original and best. I love Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones and this will be the first time since Harry Potter I will be wanting to get hold of a book the day of its release. Big stuff.
My relationship with Bridget started circa 2001 when I was given an excerpt of the first book at university during one of my modules about feminism and journalism. It wasn’t a module I enjoyed and I barely passed it by the skin of my teeth; in fact any module where I wasn’t sitting in front of a mac designing my own magazine layouts I had very little time and respect for. Tragic really but I did do well in those modules. Anyway, back to Bridget. My lecturer handed out to the class the chapter in which Bridget first meets Mark Darcy at her auntie Una’s Christmas Turkey Curry Buffet and the scene that most mirrors its biggest influence, Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth Bennet first meets Mr Darcy. I was sitting on a train heading back to the south coast from London after university during rush hour one evening and loathing the fact that I had to read something like this for university, and begrudgingly, I read the chapter and I laughed so much to myself that my fellow travellers regarded me with some consternation as to what I was reading that was causing me cry my eyes with laughter.
The next day I bought the book. I read it very quickly, Les Misérables it isn’t, and I guess I probably read it again many times after that. I was quite late to this party though, the first Bridget Jones novel was published in 1996 and this was 2001 when I picked the book up. After I bought the first one I bought its sequel, The Edge of Reason, and I wholeheartedly admit that I favour this one out of the two.
My preferences for The Edge of Reason are simple; it’s longer, funnier, and more events happen in it. I still have my beloved well-read and well-thumbed paperback copy on my shelf at home and damned if I will be parted with it. I take it with me on every holiday I go on, and sometimes I find myself just chain-reading it because of how much I love it. I regard it as pure comic genius, especially the ill-fated trip to Thailand.
And I must give credit to the only other Helen Fielding novel I have read, Olivia Jules & the Overactive Imagination. I didn’t get on with it when I first read it, my head was too filled with Bridget and how she had been written; I just couldn’t get my head into another heroine from the same writer at that point whilst I was still so immersed in Bridget. I read it, but then I didn’t read it for a long while after that until I decided that I would give it another go several years later. So I did, and I was very glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it again.
But back to the future. Although a title has yet to make itself known, fans have been told Bridget’s third expanse into literature is scheduled for release in October in the UK, and November in the US this year, from Random House. Exciting stuff. And if you need even more Bridget in your life in the form of Renée Zellweger, then you’ll be clinking your Chardonnay glasses to learn that Bridget Jones’s Baby is in its, if you’ll pardon the pun, embryonic stage and is rumoured for release within the year too. Nothing has been confirmed on this though however, only the fact that the third film has had the green light and the primary three cast members of Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are back on board. Rumours of a West End musical of Bridget Jones have circulated the internet for a long time now too, though the news of the new book and film have overshadowed the progress of this.
Personally it’s the book I am waiting on. I cannot wait to read about how Bridget is doing in the modern Babylon of Twitter, Justin Bieber and iPads.
V.g. M&S’s smoked salmon pinwheels and Dairy Milk all round, I think.
You can read more about this news and from Helen Fielding by clicking here to the BBC.