Review

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

by Helen Fielding

In BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON, we rejoin Bridget a month after the end of the phenomenal bestseller BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will surely enjoy this second romp with Bridget, Mark, Shaz, Jude, Magda and Bridget's crazy folks. All the characters are back, and they haven't really changed a bit.

For those of you who were not voyeurs into Bridget Jones's life, a quick update is in order. Bridget is a thirty-something singleton working on a television show in London. Like many single women, she has been fed a steady diet of fashion magazines and self-help books, which have nearly destroyed her ability to form a healthy, stable relationship with the opposite sex.

At the end of the first book, Bridget found the love of her life --- rich, handsome, and kind Mark Darcy. Now, in THE EDGE OF REASON, she adjusts to her new status as one half of a couple. But Bridget is so busy turning to her friends and books for advice, she fails to realize what effect it is having on Mark until she overhears him discussing their relationship: "This self-help book nonsense --- all these mythical rules of conduct you're presumed to be following. And you just know every move you make is being dissected by a committee of girlfriends according to some breathtakingly arbitrary code… "Bridget begins to doubt Mark's affection --- especially when beautiful, aggressive, and fabulously wealthy Rebecca enters the scene. She is a jellyfisher. According to Bridget, "You have a conversation with her that seems all nice and friendly, then you suddenly feel like you've been stung and you don't know where it came from."

Rebecca's interference combined with Bridget's lack of communication skills quickly derails the relationship with Mark. Bridget is on her own again --- worrying about how to get Mark back in her life, getting her crazy boss Richard to stop giving her embarrassing assignments, and trying to get an addition on her flat finished when her wayward builder leaves a gaping hole in the wall and disappears with her £3,500. And, of course, there are her endless efforts to curtail her eating, boozing, and smoking!Bridget writes, "Am so confused. Whole dating world is like hideous game of bluff and double bluff with men and women firing at each other from opposite lines of sandbags. Is as if there is a set of rules that you are supposed to be sticking to, but no one knows what they are so everyone just makes up their own."

While I wish this book had explored the early stages of a relationship instead of going back to the beginning, it is entertaining to snoop into these characters' lives. Each person is at a different stage in a relationship and every relationship --- no matter how perfect it seems on the surface --- has problems, and it is a constant struggle to make the coupling work.

From the streets of London to the beaches of Thailand to the fountains of Rome, Bridget does not disappoint. There is even a guest role for Colin Firth, the brooding and sexy actor who played Mr. Darcy in the amazing mini-series "Pride and Prejudice." At times I wanted to wring Bridget Jones's neck and scream, "Just talk to Mark Darcy and clear up all of this nonsense!" Then I remembered how easy it is to obsess over a new relationship, and how quickly a trivial misunderstanding can destroy it --- and I realized just how on target Helen Fielding is with her observations of the dating pitfalls that surround men and women of nearly every age on every continent.

This diary chronicles Bridget's life in 1997 --- the year Tony Blair became Prime Minister and Princess Diana died. Helen Fielding explores the election of Tony Blair in depth, relating the mood of England as the political system shifts.I approached the month of August with curiosity. I wanted to read Bridget's reaction to the tragic car accident that shocked the world --- especially since a British reader indicated that the section dealing with Princess Diana was extremely moving. But the incident was never mentioned in my book.

A quick call to the publisher confirmed that there were several minor changes between the UK and the American Bridget and the scenes about Diana's death didn't make the cut. Now I understand that the American publisher may want to Americanize the book to make it easier to understand. Changing Bridget's weight from stones to pounds is acceptable. Removing a major plot twist because it may "date" a book is not. Now I wonder what else has been left out of the edition that the publisher thought I would be unable to understand or comprehend. It also makes me wonder what's been left out of the Henry Potter books that I've been devouring!

Reviewed by Michelle Filippo on January 21, 2011

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
by Helen Fielding

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2000
  • Genres: Humor
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670892963
  • ISBN-13: 9780670892969