03 September 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #18

#18: Flashback

I just finished reading, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason*. After hearing about the possibility that a third film was in the works, some people had suggested reading the second book, which is apparently far better than the film. While I agree that the book is superior, reading it as a woman in her mid-twenties definitely brought a new perspective.

(If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs ...)

Although the Bridget-isms were charming (though a bit dated as it was pubished in 1999) and I do love a British chick-lit novel, Bridget's raging insecurities were hard to deal with. The conceit of the novel is that Bridget is addicted to self-help novels and friends' advice, so much so that she is completely immobilized by it. Because everything that she reads and hears is contradicted by what she should actually be doing, she never gains any traction in her relationship. At one point, she goes to throw out her self-help books and even the listing of the titles (The Rules, Ignoring the Rules, How to Seek and Find the Love You Want, How to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It) illustrate just how bogged down her logic is.

(If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too)

As the reader, you're hoping that Bridget's insights about "Singletons" and "Smug Marrieds" will lead her to some epiphany about life and love but sadly the heroine of this novel finds herself continually bogged down in wondering what her would-be lover is thinking rather than speaking to him. Funny enough, Bridget's mom, who is daft for the majority of the story, in one lucid moment says the most wise of things, "What's the point ... if you don't know what you think about things?"

(If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken)

Although I personally can't relate to Bridget (I can't relate to any literary character who basically works their way into debt and magically finds a wonderfully rich man), reading this book did give me a lot of understanding into where I am now. First of all, I am not living in a chick-lit novel. If I was the aforementioned wonderfully rich guy would be making his entrance about now. Luckily, I am also not surrounded by Smug Marrieds. I am a Singleton but not searching for spirituality in self-help novels in manner of "If Buddha Dated". What I am is somewhat content, usually horny (but who isn't in this heat?) and continuing to figure out my career. And I'll admit, I'm hoping I won't be still typing those words ten years from now.

(If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim)

The best thing about reading this book (beside it making me wildly happy about my own level o self-esteem) was the discovery of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling. I don't think Bridget fully understands the gem she's come upon when she reads this poem but she does use it to draw strength from while she's in a Thai prison. And I'll definitely hold the words with me.

(If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same)

*I'm currently reading books that have been turned into films. Atonement, Incendiary and Wonder Boys are on the list).

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