June 5, 2012 by Vicki
Helen Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary recounts the adventures of a thirty something female on the quest for love and success. It’s a hilarious tale with unforgettable characters and truly loveable heroine. Bridget Jones’s Diary fits the bill perfectly for anyone looking for a fun summer read. Bridget Jones’s Diary, however, also looks at issues surrounding the idea of perfection. Granted, it looks at the issues from the perspective of a slightly neurotic young woman, but I don’t think that diminishes the importance of the issues discussed.
Bridget Jones’s Diary examines the idea that by thirty, we should be married. Bridget Jones continually faces criticism that she does not have a partner and is not married yet. Within the book, however, Bridget watches the marriage of one of her friends fall apart. Before the break up, Bridget had envied her friend as having the perfect life. Bridget’s idea of perfection is not actually real. She learns her friends envies Bridget’s continued status as single. Of course, her friend’s idea of what it means to be single is not accurate either. Why do we have to continually aim for this idea of perfection that never actually exists? Why do we face criticism when we choose to not be in a relationship? Why do we feel that we have failed when we have not found a date for the next family gathering?
Bridget Jones’s Diary also tackles the issue of dieting and having the “perfect” weight. Now, I need to be clear, obesity is a large health concern and is not to be taken lightly. However, the solution to obesity is not fad dieting. At one point, Bridget manages to reach what she thought was her perfect weight. She has stated her weight at the beginning of each of her journal entries as she worked towards this goal. She goes out to celebrate and all of her friends tell her that she looked better the way she was before. So this idea of being the “perfect weight”, in the end, means nothing.
Bridget also goes over how she flips between the various types of diets in order to allow herself anything she fancies. I think that this is human nature. We have talked about diet before, and how we always have this guilt about eating what we like. We still eat what we like most of the time. We just find a way to vindicate ourselves for eating it. Sometimes our reasoning’s don’t stand the test of time, and then we feel guilty. How is any of the above healthy? Shouldn’t health be our concern, not meeting the requirement of any specific diet? The cover of Bridget Jones’s Diary explicitly states that her lifestyle is not healthy. Throughout the book, however, Bridget talks about how she’s implementing a new diet.
Helen Fielding’s novel Bridget Jones’s Diary tackles real life issues with humour and wit. The reader may not be aware of the discussion taking place in the book. Yet, the character Bridget Jones lives in the same world the reader lives in. Bridget Jones has to negotiate the same societal mores that all women in the first world have to negotiate. According to society, her status as a human being depends on her ability to land a husband before thirty. Yet, the society does not nourish healthy relationships or healthy individuals. Society tries to dictates Bridget Jones’s eating habits. Bridget Jones, however, uses society’s division to make her own choices.