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Bridget hasn't lost her 'Edge'

7:05 Picked up new Bridget Jones' diary (hurrah!)

7:08 Singleton life over for Jones. Should pay attention. Self could learn something as self-help books do not really "help."

7:22 Finished first chapter (v.g.)

And so it goes. The sequel to Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones' Diary," "The Edge of Reason," has brought back Bridget, Shazzer, Jude, the evil Rebecca and the modern day super hero Mark Darcy. And just like Bridget's calorie, alcohol and cigarette count, the number of laughs has not been reduced.

Fielding propels the reader across the pages with her continued use of upbeat, modern day vernacular and British slang. Such language compliments the constant stream of social blunders and overanalyzed misunderstandings made by all the characters.

Related Links
  • href="http://www.edsbookreview.com/general/fielding_bridget_jones.html"> Review of Briget Jones' Diary

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    "7 p.m. Wild joy! Got home to find answerphone light flashing. 'Bridget, hi, it's Mark, I don't know where you were last night but anyway, just checking in. I'll try you again later.' Try me again later. Hmmmm. So presumably that means not to ring him.

    "7:13 p.m. He hasn't rung. Unsure what is correct procedure now. Better ring Shaz."

    Bridget, Sharon and Jude are still self-help book readers with a taste for Chardonnay and pizza, both of which they consume while bashing men and Smug Marrieds.

    "Maybe is true what Smug Marrieds say that only men left single are single because they have a massive flaw," Bridget writes.

    Jude, Sharon and Magda continue to be the ever-supportive girlfriends, though Sharon's exploits land Bridget in jail and Jude becomes a traitor to the Singletons by the end of the book.

    Rebecca also makes an encore performance with Fielding's strong development of her character, this time as a "jellyfish" with her eye on Mark. Her condescension and Bridget's jealousy create amusing interludes throughout the novel. "Am just so happy. Do not feel angry about Rebecca but generous and accepting. She is a perfectly pleasant, posey stick insect/cow."

    But Tom, Bridget's flamboyantly homosexual friend with a great sense of humor and weak self-confidence, is not as strong a presence in this book as he was in the last - a disappointment, given how strong and well developed he was in the original.

    In the modern world of relationships, Bridget's frequent worries about how to keep Mark and her almost psychotic reading into each of his actions and words will cause laugh after laugh.

    "8:45 a.m. Was Mark. He is going to New York tomorrow for two weeks. Managed to be nice about it and just said, 'Oh, that's nice," waiting till had put phone down to yell 'But it's Valentine's Day a week on Friday, it's Valentine's Day. Baaaaaaah!' Anyway. That is just immature. Thing that matters most is the relationship, not cynical marketing ploys."

    Other men also return to the pages of Bridget's diary, though some are more welcome than others. Daniel, heartbreaker of the past novel, decides to shorten his "Martian elastic band" in true form to "Mars and Venus on a Date," and Bridget must once again consult one of her (counted) 47 relationship self-help books to know how to deal with this new crisis.

    The original book's characters only become better in this sequel through the consistent development and focus on each of their own idiosyncrasies. Fielding shifts the spotlight of the novel away from Bridget enough to clearly define her friends and family members, using colorful interludes to make them come alive. But despite the spicy character sketches, the plot takes some unbelievable twists in the new novel, such as Bridget's career foibles.

    The unbelievable incidents give less credibility to the characters; however, Fielding forces readers to rely on the strengths of her characters in order to bolster the occasionally unrealistic plot (such as Bridget's disastrous trip to Thailand).

    The twists and turns in the novel keep the reader wondering if Bridget will ever become a Smug Married, but Bridget must never become a Smug Married - her very existence depends on her being a Singleton with (boyfriends = 0, tragic).

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