Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Redeeming the Franchise

I read two books in the Bridget Jones franchise this year.

Bridget Jones’s Diary, I didn’t like much, even though it is on a number of must-read lists and is considered to be an exemplary piece of writing. Popular opinion, I guess, is sometimes crushed under your feet. And that’s how variety buds – by being unashamedly proud of individual opinion. I liked the humor in some places, but I found it strangely lacking in a lot of places. It’s a prime example of how we all make plans and don’t follow through them, most unintentionally because we forgot. Here’s the full review of the first diary.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the second in the series is a different matter altogether, even though it is still written in epistolary form, in this case, a diary format. This book is longer than the first and it grew on me. It makes me sympathize with Bridget Jones.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason follows Bridget’s adventures (or misadventures) after what seemed like a happily-ever-after with Mark Darcy. There are no weight issues, though her struggle to understand the demarcation between single life and life in a relationships is still real. Oh, and like the first book, maybe more, she has the shittiest luck ever.

Bridget Jones’s masochism has died, thankfully, though she has the talent to unintentionally put herself in uncompromising situations. She is still bumbling, but she is who she is, unapologetically so. But there are layers to her character that somehow make me proud. And when she says things like “Personality is undergoing seismic change,” it’s basically all of us in the throes of reining adulthood to our liking.

She still has idiot friends who give her stupid advice on occasion, almost looking like they are pulling her back from where she ought to be. But I guess, if these friends are loyal, then you can bear to have them in your life. She still has a knack for being innocently confident, following which everything comes tumbling down. She still has a henpecking mother who does the stupidest things and is a little unwary of what’s going on in her daughter’s life. There are a lot of characters who retain their eccentricities, but Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason gives them more layers.

Reading Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, a thought that crossed my mind was that Bridget is sort of a de-motivator for women. But in her defense, it’s a diary – one place where we put our deepest and darkest feelings and secrets. So maybe it isn’t farfetched after all. It is, for me, better than its predecessor. The Edge of Reason made me laugh more, and I can somehow, in some twisted way, relate better to Bridget in this book.

Yes, Bridget Jones has the worst timing ever. Even the events that happen to her. And that’s why, probably, she’s always out of luck. In a perennial loop, she seems to be. She demonstrated this in Bridget Jones’s Diary and she does it again. But this time around, we merely sigh and go, “Oh, no, Bridget! Not again!” rather than “What is wrong with this woman?”

The point of a first-person narrative is to build sympathy with the protagonist. And when thoughts like “I wish to sock Bridget’s Mum in the face” crossed my mind, I know Helen Fielding has done a good job. With its unique brand of British humor, the book has given me a new favorite word that makes me laugh even now: bollocking. It’s there in a few places and it made me snort. While Bridget Jones’s Diary is light chick-lit with annoying characters, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is closer home in terms of lessening stupidity in people.

I haven’t watched the second instalment in the Bridget Jones movie franchise, but I am told it isn’t as good as the first one. So in this case, the community of booklovers stands vindicated. The book is better than the movie!

Look at how she puts relationships in simple words:

It is all very well you yourself thinking things aren’t right in a relationship, but if the other person starts doing it is like someone else criticizing your mother.

It is in lines like these that I started falling in love with Bridget Jones’s humor and her story of that year. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason made me laugh multiple times, more in a couple of chapters than Bridget Jones’s Diary did in its entirety.

Bridget Jones did redeem herself after all!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: panmacmillan.com !

Click on the image below (my Amazon Affiliate link) to buy the Bridget Jones Omnibus:

P.S. Read my review of Three Men In a Boat, the best humorous book that I have ever read!

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