After reading a few award-winningly frustrating award winners recently, it was nice to settle down with something trashy. In spite of the time pressure (partly my fault, partly the stupid library’s stupid renewal policy’s fault) and the fact that I was supposed to be studying it carefully in preparation for my own foray into chicklit, I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through Bridget’s life.
I’ve seen the movie, of course, and even without it, could probably have guessed most of the plot by about page 4, but that’s not the point, is it? Nor is the fact that parts of the plot are brazenly copied from Pride and Prejudice and other ‘proper’ books. Nor is the fact that it’s short, or silly, or non-feminist, or any other quasi-insults we could justifiably lay at its door.
This is the best book I’ve read for years. And to prove that this doesn’t make me a soppy, romantic, uncultured ‘chick’, let me tell you why.
Heaps of it. Far more than the stupid Mennonite book, or Cloud Atlas, or any of the other award-winning nonsense I’ve read this year.
Chase your character up a tree: Bridget is single and doesn’t want to be.
Throw increasingly large rocks at her: Daniel Cleaver, various embarrassments on the family / lovelife / career fronts, Mark Darcy’s disdain…
Appear to let her down: Relationship with DC.
Pull ground out from under her: DC’s behavior in relationship.
More rocks: see above
Resolve everything: Oh yes, and some.
Bridget – loveable, believable, sympathetic, but far from perfect. Humorous… Bouyant…
Even Mark, Daniel and her parents are impressively 3D. OK, the supporting cast less so, but that’s a great show for a “trashy” novel and at least as good as Jane Austen ever managed.
Bridget’s parents and their relationship dramas are a great counter-story. Her friends, each with their own relationship issues make a colourful backdrop. And if the main story is Bridget’s lovelife, the episodes in her career and with her family / parents’ friends are far more developed subplots than most novels can boast.
You could open this book anywhere and know instantly what you’re reading. I found the lack of articles somewhat wearing at times, but it’s part of the character, of the idea that this is a diary, and most importantly, of the voice.
More than anything else, what I look for in fiction is a book that carries me along and takes me away. I don’t despise my real life, but I do like to escape it once in a while. A good book gets you so caught up in the lives of the characters, you don’t think about your own. And you don’t keep looking at the amount you have left and thinking “oh no. All that still to go?” like I have with the award winners.
So, am I shallow and uncultured? Do the judges of these awards see something I cannot? Or is this book like a beautiful woman in a cheap dress – infinitely preferable to the opposite?