Bridget Jones's Diary with Audio CD - Intermediate

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9780230716704: Bridget Jones's Diary with Audio CD - Intermediate

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Review:

Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, an unabashed riff on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, actually has more in common with Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. Where Bridget keeps us apprised of her flawed but persistent attempts at self-improvement in a year's worth of diary entries, the morally upright Clarissa wrestles with her love for the devious Lovelace in very private letters to friends and family. With both heroines, we feel like the favored confidante of someone more interesting than we are.

Tennyson referred to Clarissa as a "large still book," and indeed, there's a stillness about most novels structured around letters and journals, no matter how lively the drama they expose. This may be why the audiocassette version of Bridget Jones's Diary sometimes seems shrill instead of earnest, petty instead of poignantly honest. As actress Tracie Bennett (Shirley Valentine) lifts Bridget Jones from the sanctity of the printed page, we find the cast of characters scratching at each other with the noisy exaggeration of a French farce.

To her credit, Bennett infuses the dailiness of Bridget's life with admirable energy, shifting from Bridget's raspiness to Perpetua's cackle to Sharon's screech to Daniel's sneer with the ease of a stand-up comic. And here's one cassette that doesn't suffer from abridgment. What went flying by in written form--the shorthand minutia, the inventory of calories, the fluctuating cigarette consumption--would have collapsed under the tedium of a faithful reading. Although it's a shame that the abridgment favors boyfriend frustrations over the restorative nights out with the girls, it mercifully gives short shrift to Bridget's relentlessly irritating mother. Even with this reshaping, the everywoman resonance of Bridget's ordinary life comes through intact--all the way through to its happy ending. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --Ann Senechal

From the Publisher:

"Helen Fielding is one of the funniest writers alive and Bridget Jones is a creation of comic genius."
--Nick Hornby

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