BRIDGET JONES DRIVES YOU TO THE EDGE
It really sucks when your own vision for a film and/or literary character gets shown or published by some brain cells-sapping professionals before you do. You watch or peruse with horror, your jowl reaching the potato chips-kissed carpet and your whole body being paralyzed with feebleness. You feel a part of you was stolen as you contemplate why, at such a vibrant age, you deem unfresh and uninspired.
I am no stranger to this kind of scenario. My usual zeal for my precious concepts is mostly replaced by resentment in the end. But the sole novel that ensued the cruelest impact on me is “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”. This book transported me back to my high school years, in which half of it was committed to writing my own novels and creating this female character, crushing my yearning to produce a transcendental literary figure. Every page stripped me of my ambition. Every turn of events weakened my cranium. Every image planted on me tasted sweet doom.
Bridget Jones, just like the character I have created as a writer and have long awaited to make a literary appearance as a reader, is a common face in the crowd yet an eminent character in a book. Unlike the usual beauteous heroines, Bridget is armed with self-confidence of miniature proportions, pathological lateness, insatiable crave for Silk Cut and Bloody Mary, mastery of self-help book teachings and immortal cellulites. As if it were not enough, Bridget is surrounded by an overenthusiastic mother, an addictive father, mad Singletons as her set of friends, a boyfriend (at last!!!) desired by her pompous ex-friend, disrespectful colleagues, hard-to-find builder and an ethnic houseguest. The result: a web of comedic events spun by a pair of socially-observant hands that Helen Fielding made abundantly clear that could only belong to her.
Bridget’s one-year detailed account never failed to penetrate me since her character is very easy to identify with. In fact, every woman, even a man, can relate to her status in the modern urban world. Bridget captures all our restrictions, all the choices we have to make, all the emotional tug-of-wars we must surpass, all the instances we contradict our own beliefs, all our priorities and all our gains. There was no human facet untouched in this story.
Usually unappealing to Mr. Cupid and usually misunderstood for remaining unattached at her age, Bridget finally enters a relationship she truly takes pride in. Until she sees first-hand a Filipino boy lying naked on his divorced boyfriend’s bed. At the same time, she juggles her friendship and social life with her feminist friends who pinpoint Mars-Venus chemistry loopholes according to the numerous self-help books they have consulted. Add the verbal tortures she daily receives from her neurotic executive producer inspite of being a major creative asset for the productions, prompting her to make a writing stint and meet actor Colin Firth in the flesh. Include her parents of opposite aura whose recent events in their three-decade marriage render Bridget stupefied. When emotional stress piles up, off she goes to Thailand for a spiritual epiphany, which tragically resulted to her stay in prison, supposedly until the rest of her childbearing years, due to alleged drug possession. With some legal help from her ex-boyfriend, she makes a dramatic comeback to London, a highly publicized one probably if only Princess Diana’s demise did not shock the rest of the world. Then one of her best friends announces her engagement with the man Bridget disapproves of. And her diary entries go on and on, with an air of assurance that there is more to come. V.g.
Upon reading this book, I had a hard time forgiving myself for being unable to read the first installment. First, I missed a worthwhile book experience. Second, there were names mentioned in the novel that made me feel like a total outsider. Third, the movie-tie in version proliferates in all bookstores. And lastly, it was never my style to support sequels. Again, I hated Helen Fielding. This time for changing a habit I have long imposed to myself.
“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” never loses its luster each time I wrap my hands around it. Whether I feel like a “love pariah” myself, heartbroken, reminiscent of old antics with friends, underrated member or simply bored stiff at home, I could not help but fall victim to Bridget’s hypnotic voice and nod each time she declares social truth after social truth. I was pierced by the author’s printed words more than a dozen times. In fact, there were moments when I sympathized with Bridget and I would subsequently realize that I have once been dragged in that loathsome cave and accompanied by nothing but negative vibe. I would be elevated with pride, recognizing I survived that ordeal. There were instants I would burst into gales of laughter for her ridiculous actions and later on my mind would torture me with images of myself having the guts to mimic her and feel no emptiness and self-degradation afterwards. I admit I agreed with her line of thinking and eventually felt slapped for my brain’s inclination to function like an outdated critic’s. How I valued that opportunity to see my own reflection! Not to mention the acquired ability to comprehend others. This, I believe, is the ultimate purpose of a book worthy of levitation. Just imagine how disappointment assailed me when I reached the last page.
Whenever I read this enchanting book, I no longer need to convince myself that Helen Fielding never aimed to “steal” my future. I no longer seethe. I only beam with pride that, at long last, a very brilliant woman knows how novels should be written, and more importantly, has the balls to do so. And I, equipped with “first flush of youth” and knowledge what the reading public really deserves, am determined to follow her trail.
As Bridget put it, “am assured, receptive, responsive woman of substance.”