Bridget Jones på randen
BlurbFans of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary will recall that at the end of that sly and funny version of Pride and Prejudice, singleton heroine Bridget landed her Mr. Darcy at last--Mark Darcy, that is. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason picks up four weeks later, and already the honeymoon is over. In addition to discovering that the man of her dreams votes conservative, left-leaning Bridget is also feeling just a mite uncomfortable with the realities of sharing bed and board with another person: V. complicated actually having man in house as cannot freely spend requisite amount of time in bathroom or turn into gas chamber as conscious of other person late for work, desperate for pee etc.; also disturbed by Mark folding up underpants at night, rendering it strangely embarrassing now simply to keep all own clothes in pile on floor. But all of these problems pale to insignificance with the arrival on the scene of Rebecca, a beautiful, man-hunting arch-nemesis with "thighs like a baby giraffe" and absolutely no girlfriend code of ethics when it comes to poaching another woman's man. Before long, Rebecca's manipulations, Bridget's own insecurities, and a string of misunderstandings (starting with a naked Filipino boy in Mark Darcy's bed and ending with a suggestive valentine from Bridget's dry cleaner) result in "128 lbs. (good), alcohol units 0 (excellent), cigarettes 5 (a pleasant, healthy number), no. times driven past Mark Darcy's house 2 (v.g.), no. of times looked up Mark Darcy's name in phone book to prove still exists 18 (v.g.), 1471 calls 12 (better), no. of phone calls from Mark 0 (tragic).
Fortunately, Bridget has plenty of other problems to distract her. Her mother has returned from a trip to Kenya with a young Masai in tow--to her father's consternation; her best friends Jude, Shazzer, and Tom are all trapped in dating hell themselves; her apartment is in shambles thanks to a dotty carpenter; an unreliable ex-boyfriend has just reentered her life; and now someone is sending Bridget death threats--could it be Mark Darcy? If Bridget Jones's Diary was a modern riff on Pride and Prejudice, its sequel borrows several themes and devices (not to mention a section heading) from another Austen novel, Persuasion. And as in Austen's fiction, here the journey is the destination. A happy ending for Bridget and her pals is a foregone conclusion; how they get there, however, will have you on the edge of your chair--if you haven't already fallen off of it laughing. --Alix Wilber