bulk :: 19st 13 (I don’t understand how. I feel like sobbing)
cigarettes :: 0 (but, I should add, I WANT A CIGARETTE!!!)
nails on fingers :: 0
pieces of Nicorette :: 12
calories :: 1000ish (I’m finding it difficult to count calories. How do you know how many calories are in a vegetable soup for instance? One you make yourself I mean and not one from a tin. I don’t know. I’m guessing. Plus I’m eating loads of bananas and carrots. I packed all the leftover chocolates and stuff from Christmas away in a box. I’m doing all right. But I’m not losing weight)
alcohol units :: 0 (too busy craving tobacco and food to really care)
grumpiness level :: 9
Right. I’ve just finished reading Bridget Jones’s Diary and I have to say, the human race is in dire need of some major cleansing. What a depressingly bad book. ‘Helen Fielding is one of the funniest writers in Britain,’ says Nick Hornby on the front cover, ‘and Bridget Jones is a creation of comic genius.’ What the…? Why is he saying that? Did he want to sleep with her? Had he already slept with her and this was his way of apologising? Same goes for Salman Rushdie. ‘A brilliant comic creation,' blurbs Salman. 'Even men will laugh.’ No, Salman. Salman - no. If a book is genuinely funny, then people will laugh irrespective of their gender. Obviously. ‘Even men will laugh.’ What kind of bullshit is that? As it happens, I did laugh. I laughed, if I remember correctly, four times. Out loud. On the other hand, I also shouted out in anger, annoyance and plain old despair at least forty times.
So what’s wrong with this book?
Well, in a nutshell: flaccid, half-dimensional characterisation; sickeningly pat plotting – the ending in particular is an embarrassing slap in the face for anyone who's ever shown even a passing consideration for the real world; downright adolescent ideas about style – those bits where she writes ‘drunk’ and ends up with her typing slurred are a disgrace. Also, I know Helen Fielding can’t exactly be blamed for this, but Jesus, you’d think Picador could afford a decent proof reader. There are so many incredible howlers in BJD that it beggars belief. On page 174 of the above edition for example, not only is there an ‘on one’ instead of a ‘no one’, but there is also – drum roll – this: ‘that’s a nice shirt your wearing’. NOOOOOoooooooo! God in Heaven, strike me down and bugger me.
Oh, and just to show that it’s not merely bad proof reading, Fielding also manages at one stage to use the expression ‘pales into significance’. Coming quite late in the book, this kick in the lexical balls tips Fielding – in my opinion - from ‘hideously bad’ into ‘without doubt one of the worst writers in the English language’.
One thing I particularly hated about the book was the woefully predictable oscillation of mood. Thus: ‘7pm. Opened bottle of wine feeling desperate and lonely and miserable. 7.30pm. Oh unassailable joy! Daniel called and declared his undying love for me. 8pm. Daniel called back and said he’d called the wrong number by mistake. He thought I was Ryan Giggs. (Who?) Opened second bottle of wine. Binged on marshmallow and lard and put on 3 stone in 20 minutes. 9pm. Oh insurmountable ecstasy! Mark Darcy called and declared his undying love for me. He’s coming over. Performed quick gastric bypass procedure on self and washed hair. Down to 9 stone but still look podgy. 10.30pm. Mark Darcy stood me up. Why am I so lonely? Why? Why? Why?’ Because you’re a bore, Bridget, that’s why. You’re a fucking bore.
Of course I know we don’t have to like our fictional protagonists. Patrick Bateman, for example, is vile. As is Humbert Humbert, and even Homer Simpson. Yet in each of these cases, it is possible to describe these characters using one or more of the following adjectives: ‘interesting’, ‘fascinating’, ‘funny’ or ‘well-written’. And all of these things are important. However, if you insist on creating a character who is dull, slow-witted, utterly charmless, and self-indulgent to the point of mentally ill, then you’d better make sure that you write them well. Otherwise no one will read your book.
So, I suppose the next question has to be: how could I believe so passionately that what I’m saying is true and yet at the same time be so wildly and obviously wrong?
Bridget Jones's Diary has apparently sold more than four million copies worldwide. It has also picked up astonishing reviews by the likes of the inestimable Jilly Cooper and (a clearly fuckstruck) Salman Rushdie.
My instinct is to say that these people are all wrong and that I know dross when I read it and that Bridget Jones’s Diary is utter, utter dross. But… what if it’s me?
This is a chilling thought. Ordinarily at this point I would smoke a cigarette. But obviously now I can’t. So instead I shall just sit here, in my study, in nothing but the light from my computer monitor and I shall weep until dawn.
Amount of people who obviously can be wrong :: 4 million, including Salman shitting Rushdie