A series of hijinks in 90s London from a protagonist with poor self-control and excellent self-awareness.
Realized that our entire relationship so far has been based on the idea that one or other of us is supposed to be resisting having sex. Spending an evening together when the idea that we were supposed to have sex at the end of it was nothing short of bizarre. - page 106
124 lbs. alcohol units 3, cigarettes 40 (but have stopped inhaling in order to smoke more), calories 450 (off food), lottery tickets 7 - page 157
Some rom but more com; you will laugh on most every page.
Using a timeline (January as first chapter, December as last chapter) is an implicit promise that the story will wrap up neatly. Fiction that doesn't abide by comedy's typical conservatism can profit from similar constraints; some of Donald Barthelme's success comes from doing just this.
This book makes me realize how few critically accepted works are comedies. Austen, Barthelme, Heller, Dorothy Parker. Plenty I haven't read; no Vonnegut yet, and my friend recommends Cold Comfort Farm and Men at Arms. But comedy fares poorly at the Oscars, and I wonder about a similar effect in fiction: there is more cultural cache in being 'serious', and failing at comedy carries more risk (joke falls flat, joke offends). Anyway, Fielding makes me want to read more comedic work.
Chapters divide by month and sections by diary entries, and each diary entry begins with a list (cigarettes smoked, drinks imbibed, calories consumed, etc.). You'd think this list could quickly wear thin yet I didn't skip reading it once, to my surprise. Like a stand-up comedian circling back on a joke from earlier in the set, the repetition has a cumulative effect; when Bridget writes "cigarettes 10, calories 2465 (but mostly chocolate)" [page 71], it works beyond the individual joke.