Throwback Thursday Chick Lit Book Review: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Its no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I am a big fan of romantic comedies and anything Jane Austen. And so, when Helen Felding wrote Bridget Joness DiaryI was ecstatic because it combined my two great loves into one fabulous book.

What is there to say about this book that hasnt been said before. First of all, Bridget is absolutely LOVABLE. From the first few lines of the book, I immediately saw myself in Bridget.  Who hasnt struggled with weight issues, the insecurities of being single and the anxiety of finding true love?  Bridget is brutally honest and very perceptive, but most importantly, she doesnt take herself too seriously and she tries her best to enjoy life (even when that life has a few surprises for her along the way!)  Her diary entries are so hysterical-but in a good way-that by the end of the book, I saw myself  hurrying to the nearest stationary store to buy my own diary!

And I havent even talked about the best part of the book (or should I say the best man in this book).  Daniel Cleaver is the quintessential bad boy. You know Bridget should stay away from him.  You know hes up to no-good, and yet you cant help but secretly, deep down inside, root for him a little bit.  And then theres Mark Darcy. I sigh every time I say his name.  He comes across as haughty and aloof and very stuck-up (sounds familiar, Jane Austen?).  He wears ridiculous sweaters and he is very reserved.  And yet, we love him.  Why?  Because hes Darcy.  Hes loving and chivalrous.  Hes the knight in shining armor that comes to Bridgets rescue more than once.

So, even though I have long since become a Smug Married, I can still pick up this book and read it over and over again; and laugh.  How can you not with diary entries such as: I will not fall for any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, people with girlfriends or wives, misogynists, megalomaniacs, chauvinists, emotional fuckwits or freeloaders, perverts.

Introducing Sadie Rollins

I’m so excited for the release of my new bookThe Twelve Step Plan on February 3rd!  I had so much fun writing this book and even more creating the character of Sadie!  My mother always told me not to tell a lie, so I have a little secret to share.  Sadie may be fictional, but she has all of the characteristics of one of my dearest friends (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are, don’t you!)  You see, a while back, she had quite the crush on a celebrity.  It bordered on an obsession, actually.  But like I wrote in one of my blog postings last week, dont we all have obsessions?  Some may have them more serious than others, but they still exist.  I firmly believe that we all have a little bit of Sadie inside of us, or if we don’t, we should! Absolutely!

So, in anticipation of my book release, I would love to offer you an inside look into my characters crazy and, hopefully, funny world.  So without further delay, let me introduce you to Sadie Rollins . . .

Chapter One: Excerpt from “The Twelve-Month Plan”

I have a serious obsession. It’s the kind that keeps me up at night, the kind that causes me to check out at work, the kind that classifies me as “eccentric” or “crazy” among colleagues, friends and family. Really, it’s the kind that actually has them seriously thinking about having me committed to the mental ward of a hospital. It’s not like I’m the only one with an obsession, though. We all have these in some shape or form, from one extreme to the other. It’s only that some of us (and I definitely include myself in this category) have it worse than others. Some of us (I’m pointing the finger directly at me now) may have a serious problem on our hands.

Some people obsess about chocolate: dark, bitter, sweet with caramel filling; or in ice cream topped with whipped cream and almonds. It’s the kind of chocolate that melts in your mouth, causing the closest thing to an orgasmic sensation you can get without actually experiencing the real thing.

Some people obsess about exercising and dieting. They run a billion miles a day or take so many spinning classes that if the wheels on the bike were on the ground, they’d be halfway around the world by now and when they cycle back home, they measure portions of food as if they were scientists in a laboratory.

Others obsess about sex: sex in a public place, on the kitchen floor, in a hot tub, in the subway, a department store (Well, you get the picture . . . as in literally). My obsession, you ask? Well, let’s just say, it’s not so much a what, but a who. I’ll give you a few hints. He’s Latin. He wears designer-tailored suits (even in the hottest summer months) with the collar (never a tie) always slightly opened to expose a bit of his perfectly chiseled bare chest and a brightly colored dress shirt to make himself pop (red, yellow, blue, purple—any color of the rainbow, really, but never white nor black). His beautiful big, dark brown eyes are hidden eighty-five percent of the day

behind dark-tinted sunglasses. His thick mane of light brown wavy hair is always brushed

back neatly without a strand out of place, and most times, he wears his “signature” fedora. His dimples (one on each of his cheeks) are unbelievable and I’m sure trademarked against unauthorized uses of any kind. He can dance. Boy, can he dance! And what can I say about his hips? If a gyrating pelvis was a crime, I think he’d be serving a life sentence, without parole. He sings both in Spanish and in English and the way the words roll off his tongue, especially the letter “r,” it’s so lyrical, so sensual, so . . . I’m getting flustered thinking about it. He also happens to be the biggest music star/celebrity/actor/sexiest man alive on the planet, in my opinion, and he doesn’t even know I exist.

I know that my obsession is a major problem. It consumes way too much of my time, and my friends and family have a very hard time understanding it. I don’t blame them, really. I mean, what twenty-nine-year-old female adult (a few months shy of thirty) has a crush like this anymore? At fourteen, when I had a poster of my favorite actor hanging up on my bedroom wall, it was cute. Now, it’s considered pathetic at best.

In my own defense, I recognize the absurdity of it all. At my age, I know I have no business fantasizing about someone so unattainable, so beyond my realm of possibilities, but I still can’t help it. I’ve tried fighting the urge, putting it out of my mind, rationalizing it away, but every time I think about him, I go weak at the knees and I lose focus. Thinking of him makes me happy; and doesn’t everyone deserve a chance at happiness? So, after being in denial for a long time, I’ve come to accept the fact that there is nothing I can do that will make this go away. No pills; no pep talk; no therapy; no real cure.

Except for one.

Now, before you judge me, please hear me out. There are many experts in the psychiatric field who claim that the only way to deal with a serious obsession is to focus instead on a comparable healthy activity rooted in reality (can you tell I’ve been reading up on this?). I completely disagree with them all. I’ve tried that approach and it has failed miserably. My own layman approach? Instead of running from it and denying the fact that it exists, I fully intend to confront this obsession head-on. How, you might ask? Well, it’s simple, really. I’m going to treat my obsession by doing all that I can to meet him and have him fall in love with me. It’s the only way to wean myself off this affliction once and for all.

For the record, I know the odds are stacked against me (I may be obsessed, but I’m not naïve). Being a rational person (most of the time), I also know that this chance encounter will most likely never happen. The fact is I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice on the same day than to have him fall madly in love with me. But I also know that I have to try because, unless I do this, I won’t be able to get on with my life. It’s exactly like buying a lottery ticket. You know the chances of hitting the big jackpot are slim to none, but you also know that you have to be “in it to win it.” Yes, it’s crazy, but it’s also the kind of “crazy” that every person at some point in their lives does without thinking. Granted, most people “do” their crazy in college, but what can I say? I’m a late bloomer.

So, to hell with psychotherapy and breathing exercises! To hell with support groups and visualization! I have, instead, given myself a goal–I will develop twelve steps to perfectly execute this (some would say very crazy, possibly certifiably insane) plan of mine. Only twelve steps, and by the end of the last one, I will either be with my hip-gyrating, dimple-infused, Latin-loving, Spanglish-speaking Adonis or walk away knowing that I tried my best. And if I fail, I’ll at least take comfort in the fact that I did everything in my power to try to make my fantasy a reality. When I’m old and gray, swaying back and forth on my rocking chair, I will have this amazing story to tell my grandchildren. The message for them will be this: Follow your dreams, even if it means failure and even if it’s the craziest thing anyone has ever heard, because sometimes, just sometimes, you might find something wonderful in the insanity. Sometimes, you might discover something about yourself you never knew existed.

To pre-order your copy of The Twelve-Step Plan,please click on the link:

She’s Alive

Sometimes I secretly wish that I could be the eccentric scientist, Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelleys classic novel.  Why, you might ask?  Thats easy.  Because then, I could make the characters in my books come to life.  Or better yet, the leading men in my books! 

Id have the time of my life getting to hang out with them.  This is especially true of my latest character, Sadie Rollins, from my novel, The Twelve-Step Plan.  Sadie is so much fun because shes not afraid to take risks to try and make her dreams come true.  For just one day, Id like to join Sadie on all of her crazy adventures and Id have the time of my life doing it!  From camping out overnight in NYC to see my favorite popstar, to heading down to Miami Beach and partying like a celebrity, I wouldnt mind getting into scraps with Sadie, because I know that at the end, everything will turn out right (I mean, there has to be a happily ever after, doesnt it?)  And lets face it, I also wouldnt mind getting to know X and Miguel, the two men in Sadies life that are more than “swoon-worthy!” 

But alas, until such time when science can clone these characters, Ill just have to settle with enjoying them on the pages of my books and look forward to creating more that I can laugh with.   

Erin Brady