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Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries


Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries

Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones novel is as quick and compelling a read as the previous books in the series. Bridget is still lovably messy and sharp-witted. But unlike the earlier installments, BRIDGET JONES’S BABY reads more like the end of an era rather than an enthusiastic celebration of it.

As the movie trailers preceding it show, Bridget is pregnant by way of Bridget Jonesean shenanigans. After briefly and illicitly rehashing her past with both her ex-fiance, Mark Darcy, and notorious ex-lover Daniel Cleaver, Bridget finds herself pregnant, with both of the men as equally viable fathers. This paternal problem keeps the reader invested in the story until the reveal.

All of this is surrounded by Bridget’s characteristic worrying. However, instead of fretting about her weight or what her hot boss thinks of her, she is consumed with guilt over being childless. Though this concern is completely in character, the way Fielding writes it is a bit too brisk and surface level, even for Bridget Jones.

"Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones novel is as quick and compelling a read as the previous books in the series. Bridget is still lovably messy and sharp-witted."

Between the smug marrieds (who are now smug mothers) and the singletons who refused to be tied down, Bridget feels pulled in two opposite directions. This feeling is incredibly relatable, but the execution fails to really capture it. The instances that reveal Bridget’s insecurities are of such little significance that Fielding has to frequently rely on explicit description. The reader has to be told why Bridget would feel anxious in certain situations rather than just understanding it from the context. This happens throughout the novel and is a departure from the quirky but carefully chosen scenes that Fielding delivered in the first iteration of the series. It creates the feeling that this is the end of earnest Bridget Jones books and the beginning of Fielding writing exclusively screenplays.

Similarly, Bridget worrying about her biological clock is a legitimate concern, but this problem is so quickly and neatly solved with the surprise pregnancy that it seems like Fielding felt she had to write about Bridget maturing in some way when her character is not maturing at all. As a reader and longtime fan of Bridget, I hoped that there would be some progression, that Bridget would learn the lessons about herself and about the world that always seem to be hitting her over the head. Fielding does not give us progression and even seems to think she wouldn’t be on board with any progress. Bridget is often complaining about the “man-bunned” millennials who are never real characters, just extras in the scenes of her breakdowns. She also still seems to have trouble working modern technology.

For fans of the series, these lapses in form and over-explanation are the slight irritations that linger around the question that brought us to the book. I doubt there is anything here that won’t make it into the movie, and the novel seems at best a companion piece for the film. If you enjoyed the previous installments, this one will be a somewhat satisfying read. At least it will save you the money for a movie ticket.

Reviewed by Allison Sharp on October 27, 2016

Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries
by Helen Fielding

  • Publication Date: July 25, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0525433880
  • ISBN-13: 9780525433880