Bridget Jones’s Diary: Helen Fielding

Happy 2015 you wonderful people; I can’t believe this is my first review of the New Year. I’ve been a little quiet over the last few weeks because of all the festivities, seeing friends and family and generally having a serious break from work. So today’s review comes after a very last minute trip back to Stoke-On-Trent due to problems with the train lines. So this morning at 4.45 I was stumbling round my room picking up dresses, shoes and jewellery and staggering around I picked a book from the shelf and it happened to be this one. I will be honest it wasn’t exactly what I was thinking of reading on the drizzly journey back to Stoke-on-Trent however it all turned out to be rather wonderful. Hope you enjoy, and of course, Happy New Year!

In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and “Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way).” In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year’s resolution–the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent. Overall a charming book about the ups and downs of the single life for one wonderfully ditsy but exceptionally witty young woman.

Now, regular readers of my blog will know that once I have seen a film I often decide not to read the book. It’s not that I don’t think the book will be as good or that I don’t think it is worth reading, I just worry that I will overall be disappointed. Either that the book is better and I wish I read it first or that the book was ruined because I already knew the storyline. It all becomes a little difficult. However I was actually rather impressed by this quite famous and well liked chick-lit. The book as like the films follows the loveable Bridget Jones who just can’t seem to catch a break – both in her professional life, and her love life. Written in a diary format (as the title suggests,) the book is written in a quirky, honest and bumbling style that tells of all the trials and tribulations of the main character including the difficulty of her finding a man, her parents split and her mothers sudden change in life ambition. However it focuses on it a way that can only be described as distinctly droll and witty.

Although I have read reviews describing it as unbelievable due to the frankly awful things that happen to her through the year, the book moves with style and pace that helps to keep you moving through this damn right hilarious story. Sometimes diary style formats can come across a little boring and lack action but the peculiar events and the authors peculiar but funny way of describing it all (especially the description of Bridget’s weight, calorie intake and number cigarettes smoked) made it very fun to read. I also didn’t find that the film weighed heavily on my mind whilst reading the book because the style of the writing makes it different to the very popular film. I also didn’t find the ‘singleton’ story tiring or mundane because it focuses less on the men and more on the main character. Additionally I loved how grating and exhausting the additional minor characters are. As like the film they are just as infuriating and funny at the same time!

Overall this is a wonderfully British book full of humour, awkward encounters, chaos and overall a lovely lady trying to find her feet. It is entertaining, stylish, witty and just a little tongue in cheek and I hate to say but I loved it. The plot whilst not profound works because of the lovely writing style. A definite book to cheer you up on a cold winters morning.

wallpaper04

Perfect Alibis: Jane-Wenham Jones

I picked up this book after reading the book ‘One Glass is never Enough,’ also by Wenham Jones. I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into as I didn’t read the blurb only downloaded it so it was bought on a hunch! I was completely shocked by the twist and was really surprised. However it was a hilarious read based on a plot I hadn’t ever thought of before which was a nice surprise. Often plots are re-hashed and re-done, however this was something I hasn’t thought of before! So here it is, the review!

Infidelity for women – a survival guide. Stephanie – bored housewife and disillusioned mother – wants a job, and Madeleine’s recruitment company appears to be the ideal place to go. Except that PAs isn’t quite what it seems. Far from providing companies with Personal Assistants, the agency offers Perfect Alibis to unfaithful women. And as Stephanie soon discovers, there are lots of them about! Founder member Patsy is a serial philanderer and there’s a dark side to her best friend Millie. For the well-heeled ladies of Edenhurst, PAs is a ticket to risk-free adultery. When slacker Troy, Stephanie’s first love, returns unexpectedly to town, even she is tempted. But her life is soon in turmoil, and that’s before the tabloids get involved.

Right so down to the nitty gritty. I really loved the plot of this book; it’s nothing I’ve thought about before let alone read before. An agency that helps women cheat on their partners basically. It’s pretty hilarious the situations these ladies get themselves into; from being heard on the phone, to cheeky photos on the kitchen table. Although not always completely authentic the stories were brilliant. Equally brilliant was the way in which Madeleine and her team get the women out of the tricky situations they find themselves in. These include ordering train tickets, providing new knickers, and picking up the adulterers from the most interesting places. Not the most moral of plot lines I know but probably one of the funniest I’ve read in a while! Stephanie’s story was emotional and thought provoking, Her relationship with George has lost its spark and she is struggling to find the passion they once had; no wonder due to his obsession with the slobbering family dog. Stephanie is stuck in a rut and when her charming ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture Stephanie just can’t seem to help herself. The romance that follows is heady and lust filled and helps to power the plotline along. It also allows for a contrast between the life that Stephanie wishes she had lived, and the life that she lives currently. The flashbacks were well written and Jones managed the different in Stephanie’s character well! I really felt I understood how her life had changed. However there are more contrasts seen between Stephanie and Patsy. Patsy is a flamboyant and sexual character that wants passion in her life. Her life is blissfully full of difficult situations and close calls that Madeleine prides her business on sorting out. However, Patsy finds herself in bed with a rather sordid character who could show the world what she’s really like! The only problem was I didn’t feel like Patsy’s character was explained to it’s best ability. Although, yes she was cheeky and lusty, she was explored enough which was a shame. I don’t know whether Jones ran out of pages or ideas for Patsy but I wish she had been developed more as I felt there was more too her than Jones let on. The story continues with the women each trying to live the life they want without rippling the waters of their normal family life.

A couple of negatives although I did enjoy the book, firstly I thought some of the characters lacked conviction. They had great potential with the stories and the plot lines however I thought that they lacked grit. Stephanie especially seemed a little flaky. I also really wanted George to show some emotion and yet even when he finds that Stephanie has been less than faithful I thought he would show some anger however it was lacking in strength. I know he was made out to be understanding and the strong silent type but I thought he could have showed a little more punch and attitude to make Stephanie see even more what a bad mistake she had made. Additionally, I thought that the ongoing stories that ran through alongside the main plot were lacking in detail and I would have rather they had focused on a few rather than attempting to follow four or five. It meant that the plot lost power and also that at times the plots became confused. This was a problem as the book had a brilliant premise and although slightly immoral it could have given a really punchy display. Unfortunately the delivery wasn’t as good as it could have been and it lost the power that I thought it could have displayed. However, these are picky points and overall it has a lot of hilarious moments for you to get your teeth into!

Image

‘the response o…

‘the response of one passionate and critical writer is worth a hundred, or a thousand, uncritical surveys that, by refusing to come off the fence, never get anywhere near the life of art.’

^ That is so honestly beautiful…read the full article here! 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2011/sep/23/critics-art-best-writers-ruskin?guni=Article:in%20body%20link&guni=Article:in%20body%20link%20[Last%20Accessed%2014/12/13]

Jonathan Jones how can you sum things up so beautifully and yet so frankly.