Which Characters from Books Would Be Bridget Jones' Best Friends?
Recently, "the Today Show," "Good Morning America" and the front page of the Sunday Times announced some tragic news: Top barrister Mark Darcy has died, leaving behind a widow and two children. Very sad news indeed—made only slightly less somber by the fact that Mark Darcy is a fictional character. But "Bridget Jones" fans took little comfort in that. The Twitterverse erupted in stereophonic sobs! Some of my favorite Tweets: "Why does Mark Darcy have to die? Ahhh my life is over #BridgetJones" and "I don't want to live in a world where Mark Darcy and Bridget Jones aren't living happily ever after" and, perhaps my personal favorite, "I couldn't hate you anymore right now I can't believe you told me mark Darcy is dead I hate u beyond words I will cut u."
Why the Twittantrums? Well, because for those of us who have read, reread and re-reread "Bridget Jones's Diary," Bridget is more than a fictional character. She's a friend. Luckily, Bridget's story goes somewhere completely amazing from there. Yes, I cried as I edited the first draft, but I also laughed like a lunatic. I found myself giggling away in my office and, embarrassingly, quoting Helen Fielding back to Helen Fielding as though she hadn't heard the jokes before. The book is just that fun. It's like catching up with a long-lost friend. So, that got me thinking: Who else would Bridget Jones be friends with? If Bridget wandered off the pages of "Mad About the Boy" and into the literary landscape, who would take her to the pub, feed her vodka and help her write her Match.com profile? Here a few characters I could see Bridget gladly palling around with.
Bernadette Fox, heroine of Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go Bernadette?" seems like a brilliant best friend for our girl. They are both continually under siege from various wildlife--Bernadette from the "gnats" at her daughter's school, Bridget from the "jellyfish" in social situations--one minute all lovely, the next saying they thought she was a few years older than Shazzer. Together, Bernadette and Bridget would hire a virtual assistant and a blackberry abatement specialist and giddily they'd head off to Antarctica, wearing huge sunglasses and little skirts.
Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir "Orange is the New Black," could also be Bridget's kindred spirit/prison wife. They've both done time--Piper in the infamous women's correctional facility in Danbury, Conn., after her dip in the world of drug trafficking, and Bridget in a Thai prison after she accidentally smuggled cocaine given to Shazzer. Bridget could teach Piper "Like A Virgin" and Piper could teach Bridget how to make Prison Cheesecake out of Laughing Cow and Coffee Mate.
I am a little worried about it, but I think Bridget could potentially fall into a brief dalliance with Nate Piven from Adelle Waldman's "The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P." This would clearly be a toxic relationship where Nate would silently judge Bridget's scary knickers and wobbly bits and Bridget would fall victim to his emotional f*ckwittage. Inevitably, Nate would drag Bridget along to a book launch party where Bridget would come dressed in a bunny costume only to realize all the Brooklyn hipsters were in skinny jeans and she would dump him and flee back to London where real men wear Christmas jumpers.
Recovering from a broken heart, Bridget could hang out with Delphine Moreau from "The Engagements," by J. Courtney Sullivan. Delphine knows how to deal with a breakup: You rip up his favorite shirts, flood his apartment and give away his dog. Bridget might actually temper this scorched-earth approach, teaching Delphine about the massively cathartic power of vodka and evil text messages.
Everyone needs a work friend, and so for professional support Bridget could bond with Sheila from Sheila Heti's "How Should a Person Be?" Bridget is working on a feminist screenplay, Sheila is writing a feminist play, and together they could form a writing duo, creating the greatest piece of literature since "Kafka's Motorbike"! Except that from what I can tell, they would spend most of their writing hours emailing Tom, Jude and Margaux.
After her epic horseback riding fail on national television, Bridget seems unlikely to pursue a career as an equestrian, but if she were stuck attending "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls," she and Thea Atwell could commiserate on the trials of falling in love with a boy you've known forever. Together they would reminisce about running naked round various paddling pools. Then, Thea would teach Bridget how to ride a horse facing forwards.
There are a few other friend-dates I think Bridget should go on--Isabella from "Girls in White Dresses" would mix Bridget a nice mimosa, bald Sunny from "Shine, Shine, Shine" could have a ball teaching Bridget how to let her hair down, Astrid from "Crazy Rich Asians" could organize her closet and Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" could help Bridget set up her Wi-Fi, but, at the end of the day, we know who Bridget's real besties are: us. Her readers. I hope you have as much fun reading "Mad About the Boy" as I did, and I can't wait to see the Tweets.
Jenny Jackson is a Senior Editor at Knopf and Doubleday.