Excerpt from Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Bridget Jones's Diary

A Novel

by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary
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  • First Published:
    May 1998, 271 pages
    May 1999, 267 pages

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Thursday 5 January

129 lbs. (excellent progress--2 lbs. of fat spontaneously combusted through joy and sexual promise), alcohol units 6 (v.g. for party), cigarettes 12 (continuing good work), calories 1258 (love has eradicated need to pig out).

11 a.m. Office. Oh my God. Daniel Cleaver just sent me a message. Was trying to work on CV without Perpetua noticing (in preparation for improving career) when Message Pending suddenly flashed up on top of screen. Delighted by, well, anything--as always am if is not work--I quickly pressed RMS Execute and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw Cleave at the bottom of the message. I instantly thought he had been able to tap into the computer and see that I was not getting on with my work. But then I read the message:

Message Jones
You appear to have forgotten your skirt. As I think is made perfectly clear in your contract of employment, staff are expected to be fully dressed at all times.

Hah! Undeniably flirtatious. Thought for a little while whilst pretending to study tedious-beyond-belief manuscript from lunatic. Have never messaged Daniel Cleaver before but brilliant thing about messaging system is you can be really quite cheeky and informal, even to your boss. Also can spend ages practicing. This is what sent.

Message Cleave
Sir, am appalled by message. Whilst skirt could reasonably be described as a little on the skimpy side (thrift being ever our watchword in editorial), consider it gross misrepresentation to describe said skirt as absent, and considering contacting union.

Waited in frenzy of excitement for reply. Sure enough. Message Pending quickly flashed up. Pressed RMS:

Will whoever has thoughtlessly removed the edited script of KAFKA'S MOTORBIKE from my desk PLEASE have the decency to return it immediately.

Aargh. After that: zilch.

Noon. Oh God. Daniel has not replied. Must be furious. Maybe he was being serious about the skirt. Oh God oh God. Have been seduced by informality of messaging medium into being impertinent to boss.

12:10. Maybe he has not got it yet. If only could get message back. Think will go for walk and see if can somehow go into Daniel's office and erase it.

12:15. Hah. All explained. He is in meeting with Simon from Marketing. He gave me a look when walked past. Aha. Ahahahaha. Message Pending:

Message Jones
If walking past office was attempt to demonstrate presence of skirt can only say that it has failed parlously. Skirt is indisputably absent. Is skirt off sick?

Message Pending then flashed up again--immediately.

Message Jones
If skirt is indeed sick, please look into how many days sick leave skirt has taken in previous twelvemonth. Spasmodic nature of recent skirt attendance suggests malingering.

Just sending back:

Message Cleave
Skirt is demonstrably neither sick nor abscent. Appalled by management's blatently sizist attitude to skirt. Obsessive interest in skirt suggests management sick rather than skirt.

Hmm. Think will cross last bit out as contains mild accusation of sexual harassment whereas v. much enjoying being sexually harassed by Daniel Cleaver.

Aaargh. Perpetua just walked past and started reading over shoulder. Just managed to press Alt Screen in nick of time but big mistake as merely put CV back up on screen.

"Do let me know when you've finished reading, won't you?" said Perpetua, with a nasty smirk. "I'd hate to feel you were being underused."

The second she was safely back on the phone--"I mean frankly, Mr. Birkett, what is the point in putting three to four bedrooms when it is going to be obvious the second we appear that bedroom four is an airing cupboard?"--I got back to work. This is what I am about to send.

From Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding. © 1997 by Helen Fielding. Used by permission of the Viking Press.

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