Bridget, born in March, is an Aries — the first sign of the zodiac, the sign of “me me me,” the ambitious, energetic starter and lazy, reluctant finisher of projects. I relate to Bridget, of course — my moon is in Aries, which is also my rising sign, and I am also much better at starting things than finishing them, see: this newsletter.
I did THINK about BJDD a lot over the winter “break,” even though I didn’t send any newsletters. I spent the week of Christmas at my inlaws’ house, site of my most memorable BJD reread, which took place over the course of one long night during a Norovirus outbreak that began when patient zero, my then-two-year-old son Raffi, barfed in my hair. Bridget Jones’s Diary is not actually a great book to read when you can’t sleep because you have Norovirus — there’s way too much food in it, starting with the turkey (urp) curry (oh no) buffet — but it is at least reliably distracting. God, that was an awful, awful night. In addition to being sick I was also pregnant, and had just gotten past the point in pregnancy where you feel slightly queasy all the time so I had missed the first symptoms of oncoming virus, mistaking them for hunger pangs, and had eaten an enormous SALAD which I would soon come to regret in great detail. That was two years ago and I still have not purposely eaten radicchio or endive since.
The resulting baby is now 1.5 years old and at my inlaws’ he sleeps in the same room where I spent that horrible salad-barfing night, alone save for the characters in this charming diverting book and said baby’s proto-self. I got a little bit nostalgic, though that’s not really the right word, for the idea of fetal Ilya experiencing my violent barfing as the rolling of a barely noticeable tide.
In July, Daniel Cleaver finally shows his true colors: he’s two-timing Bridget with a tall, thin American who sunbathes nude on his roof and says “I thought you said she was thin” (?!) when discovered by Bridget, who is dressed in a borrowed bridesmaid dress because she was the only one who turned up to her parents’ friends’ “Tarts and Vicars” party in costume and is wearing a bunny costume underneath. I have to admit that the movie version of this chapter is better than the book version, which contains few memorable lines and seems to exist to be eventually filmed. Whenever a scene in a book is described by the narrator as “like a French farce” it’s a little lazy, no? Whatever, we love this book, and it’s good to get the whole Daniel thing over with so we can pursue the next plot obstacle to Bridget and Mark Darcy’s union.
Speaking of adaptations of Jane Austen novels, have you read Eligible? I think I’m going to reread it, even though I should be plunging headlong into the New Year by reading challenging new releases and, like, the books I am being paid to review. It’s extremely good, much better than you even think it might be — a rare romantic book that manages to be genuinely romantic — makes you believe in love type thing. Which BJDD, for all its great lines and whizzing plot, does not — no one ever behaves as purely chivalrously as Mark Darcy or as purely caddishly as Daniel Cleaver in real life. Not in mine, anyway.