Bridget Jones – my heroine, my friend, myself
I feel I have missed out on the whole dressing up for World Book Day thing today, so whilst my friends were posting photos on Facebook of their children and sometimes themselves kitted out as a variety of book characters, I took a quick snap of myself channeling my inner Bridget Jones:
To be fair, I don’t need to do much in the way of getting in touch with my inner Bridget, I feel that I can relate to her in so many ways. When the first two books came out towards the end of the 1990’s they became firm favourites very quickly. I think most women can relate to the obsession with calorie-counting or units of alcohol consumed, relationship ups and downs, fuckwittage, building a career and the amazing friendships.
Bridget made me laugh, but all the time there was the nagging at the back of my mind that all of this was a little too similar for comfort at times. I suppose this was mainly from the slight obsession by Colin Firth in the Pride and Prejudice mini-series in that scene with the wet shirt. How would I have coped if ever having the opportunity to interview him? Probably a bit like Bridget, and probably a bit like this:
“So Mr Darcy, erm, I mean Colin. No! I mean Mr Firth. What should I call you? Anyway, erm…. (long silence) who do you think would win in a fight between a shark and a crocodile?”
Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason were books very much of their time and women in their 20s and 30s could really relate to what Bridget was going through in a way that future generations won’t. Do women in their 20s even know about dialling 1471 to find out the last number who called? Can you even do that anymore? If we hadn’t been in the particular situation that Bridget had found herself in, we knew someone who had, or at least the books were so well-written that we could imagine what it would be like. We would be cheering Bridget on, because at the end of the day, who doesn’t hope that they end up with their very own Mr Darcy?
For Bridget Jones in her 30s now, things would be quite different. I’d like to think that she would blog (like me) for a start. With the promise of the third Bridget Jones novel in 2013, I was both excited and nervous. I hoped that I would be treated to Bridget dealing with the calorie counting and lack of cigarettes and alcohol through a pregnancy. But I was in for a shock. In Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, it was though someone had written about my life, but jumbled the pages up. Bridget had two children and then had been widowed. I had been widowed but then had two children.
Reading about Bridget’s experience of loss made me cry. She understood. She knew what it was like. The Bridget that I knew and related to in my 20s had grown up. She was a different Bridget, but still very much like me and had gone through similar experiences. She may be fictional, but Bridget Jones is my heroine and my friend, and there is definitely a bit of Bridget in me – and I am happy to embrace that. Thank you Bridget Jones. Thank you for being there when I need you, on my bookshelf.