14th October 2013

Top five fictional diaries

In celebration of the release of the third instalment in the Bridget Jones’s Diary series, Andrew Websdale reveals his favourite fictional diaries of all time
Top five fictional diaries
Photo: Jane Perry

1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Possibly one of the all-time greats, this is the novel that told a generation of single women that it was okay to make an idiot out of yourself and wear huge underwear at the same time. Alongside the humour, the book chronicles the daily stresses of the modern woman: men, men and MEN!

2. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Although she is better known for The Hundred and One Dalmatians, this is possibly Smith’s greatest achievement. In it, aspiring author Cassandra Mortmain documents the lives and loves of her eccentric family as they struggle to make ends meet in a cold, crumbling castle. This is a book that you come back to time and time again, wishing that you were a member of that unconventional yet endearing household.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is not quite a diary but rather a collection of letters from a 15 year old boy to an anonymous stranger. In it, we see Chbosky tussle with the awkwardness surrounding teenagers in love. With lashings of high school drama, including truth or dare, ‘the gay one’ and of course the football team, this is a must read for anyone wanting to relive the best – or worst – seven years of their life.

4. Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Slightly different from the other books here, this novel is a lifetime’s worth of diaries. Boyd decided we should have a warts and all view of the main protagonist, Mountstuart, and so we find ourselves reading about prostitution and masturbation alongside many of the 20th century’s most important events.

5. Witch Child by Celia Rees

After her grandmother is hanged for witchcraft, Mary Newbury is hurried out of the country to escape a similar fate. She sails to the New World with a group of Puritans but finds that, even there, being different is rather dangerous and that she must face incomprehensible choices to survive.

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