Friday, 17 December 2010

Big Read Challenge - #75 Bridget Jones's Diary

What better way to replace one Darcy but with another? Having watched the film a number of times i thought I knew what I was getting with the book but was surprised by quite a number of plot differences.  The film - which I think I am more fond of -  is certainly more like Pride and Prejudice than the book, which isn't surprising as the guy who penned the BBC adaptation also collaborated with the screenplays.

One thing I noticed whilst reading the book is how dated it has become, there are a lot of references that had I read it back in 1996 when it was published I would have immediately recognised.  At one point she starts to keep count of the the days "instants" and at first I was confused, I knew that I should have known what she was talking about as it was quite familiar.  It wasn't until later when she explained about the national lottery that I of course knew what she was talking about, back in 1995 the whole lottery itself was new and Britain was lottery crazy, I used to work in WHSmiths on a Saturday and often manned the Lottery till and we had queues winding around the shop and right out the door every Saturday for the couple of years I was there. Had someone mentioned instants back then I would have immediately known what they were referring to.

The other reference which i have to admit to identifying with is her 1471 obsession, and I cannot remember the last time I ever used 1471 not really needed with caller ID, which got me wondering how Bridget would have coped with the myriad of ways to be spurned by possible love interest.  It is set before mobile phones, texting, email and the internet were commonly available.  Facebook was at least 10 years away with it's status updates and relationship indicators.

It isn't too surprising that it has aged when you take into consideration that it started as a newspaper column reflecting the life of a mid-nineties thirty-something and therefore detailing current trends and national obsessions.  Pushing those aside Bridget is still as identifiable in her hang ups as a thirty-something woman 15 years later, remembering she is a caricature and not a real representation, and there are certainly traits and insecurities I can recognise in my own behaviour and that of my friends. I very much enjoyed reading it, and now really want to watch the film again, and after a little Googling am quite excited at the prospect of a new film and a possible west end musical to come!

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