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Bridget Jones Redux

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From Zoë Heller’s 1998 review of Bridget Jones’ Diary (and two other novels in the same mould):

Over the last ten years, in Britain and America, there has been a significant proliferation of a certain kind of feminine first-person narrative. The author is almost always a young(ish), single, middle-class woman, and the narrative a jaunty record of a frisky personal life… The feminine first-person narrative is unabashedly self-involved. It is knowing and urbane, but it is also showily neurotic and self-derogatory…

Judging by the grim sameness of these three novels, the FFPN has already hardened into a new literary orthodoxy, a new correctness. The surprise factor has waned: Fielding, who is a talented comic writer, will, I imagine, move on to other, less ploughed territory. Weir and Zigman should probably count themselves lucky to have grabbed book contracts while the trend was hot. Something else will no doubt be along shortly to de-familiarise, once again, the figure of the female narrator. In the meantime, let us declare a moratorium on the FFPN. There is nothing left to tell about messy periods or greying M&S underwear that has not already been amply told.

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