Helen Fielding Books In Order

Publication Order of Bridget Jones Books

Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Edge of Reason (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mad About the Boy (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Bridget Jones Non-Fiction Books

Bridget Jones's Guide to Life (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Cause Celeb (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Ox-Tales: Air (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Late 90’s were a very important period for female writers. J.K. Rowling began writing a saga about a young wizard called Harry Potter, and Helen Fielding began writing a saga about a young overweight girl with a lot of issues called Bridget Jones. These two writers put British authors back in the spotlight, and while everything is known about J.K. Rowling, Helen Fielding is not much talked about. Thus, this is the story about her. This is how Helen Fielding and Bridget Jones came to be.

Helen Fielding was born on February 19, 1958, in a little town called Morley, placed in West Yorkshire, right next to Leeds. This region has always been famous for its industry, especially the one involving textile, hence, it was not a surprise that Fielding’s father worked as a manager in a textile factory.

This was a region of hardworking, colorful people, and Fielding had certainly a chance to observe the society in all of its shapes and colors, a talent which would come in handy years later. After she graduated from Wakefield Girls’ High School, she went on to study English at prestigious St Anne’s College in Oxford where she majored in 1979. This was a period when Fielding participated in Edinburgh Festival, where she made a lot of friendship with up-and-coming British artists, such as Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. After she graduated, Fielding got a job on BBC, where she worked as a researcher. She gradually made progress, until she became production manager for various shows, which opened an opportunity for her to explore the situation in the world. Fielding was especially interested in the rebel war led in Southern Sudan and even made a documentary about it called “Where Hunger is a Weapon”. The experience she obtained while researching state of things in Africa inspired her first novel called “Cause Celeb”. In the early 90’s, Fielding left BBC and started writing columns for various newspapers. One of these columns included a continuing story about a young girl dealing with the complex task of being a woman in a modern world with great expectations.

This character was an amalgam of many stories Fielding has heard over the years, and the column ended up being very successful. This success encouraged Helen Fielding to expand the character and the story, thus writing the book we all know as “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. The book was published in 1996 and was not very successful- the sale was way below extraordinary. However, a year later, the novel went through another release, this time as a paperback, which proved to be a great decision- it became a smash hit with wide acclaim. It won British Book of the Year in 1998 and inspired Fielding to start writing a sequel. In 2001, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” got its movie adaptation with Renee Zellweger in the lead role, as well as Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in the supporting roles. The movie was a major success too, and the role of Bridget Jones earned Zellweger her first nomination for Oscar.

As it was mentioned before, the first part of the Bridget Jones series is called “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. The novel is divided into twelve chapters, representing months of a year, with each month being written as a daily diary entry. The diary follows a life of Bridget Jones, a 30-something single girl who is obsessed with her love life and weight. Bridget spends her life balancing career and personal life, trying to find a true love, while handling a difficult task of being a woman in a modern society. She lives alone, but has a lot of friends, with whom she discusses her daily ordeals. Bridget’s love life is mostly influenced by two men- her womanizing boss Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, a freshly divorced introvert barrister (yes, the connection to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is real- Fielding stated that the novel is inspired by “Pride and Prejudice”). These two men continue pursuing Bridget with all the usual obstacles that follow the genre while creating a great deal of comical and embarrassing situations in the process. Bridget is no stranger to embarrassment herself- misfortunate events are part of her everyday life, and sometimes it seems as Bridget just stumbles from one awkward situation to another.

The novel is filled with a flamboyant set of supporting characters, most notably Bridget’s parents and friends, who bring vividness to the story. “Bridget Jones’s Diary” may be deemed as chick-lit, on the other hand, one can not say that many chick-lit novels influenced the authors the way Bridget Jones did. Humour is spot on, as are the common tropes. Nevertheless the story is told from a fresh perspective and Bridget stays with a reader long after the last page is read, which is in all fairness a feat that ordinary chick-lit novels cannot achieve.The main focus, is on the love triangle and this remains the case in the sequel, titled “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”. The second installment in the franchise continues the story of Bridget, who now fears for the future of her relationship, and decides to embark on the journey across the Asia. A series of mishaps that can only occur to Bridget send her to jail, where she gets time to reflect on her life so far and how it has changed since she met Mark. This situation is a life changer for Bridget, as she learns a lot more on her voyage than she expected. This novel may not have the strength or the influence that “Bridget Jones’s Diary” possessed, but still it provides a reader with many comical moments. “The Edge of Reason” also got its movie adaptation with Zellweger, Grant, and Firth reprising their roles as Bridget, Daniel and Mark, respectively.

The popularity of Bridget Jones series remains intact twenty years after its initial publishing. Fielding’s novel have passed a million copies mark a long time ago. Her novels were translated into 32 languages. They inspired three feature films and influenced many young women around the world. That is a legacy Helen Fielding should be proud of. And she certainly is. Bridget Jones has evolved into some kind of a symbol and what else can an author wish for its creation?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Helen Fielding