In 1998, The Diary of Bridget Jones allowed readers a peek at the not-so-private life of Bridget Jones, a 30-something, eternally dieting, single girl caught in the undertow of career ambition. Her half-hearted attempts at a worthwhile career consumed some of her time, but Bridget was more concerned with her personal life and at the end of Diary, it seemed her persistence paid off.
Well, Bridget is back, and ready to enter a new phase of life, one of spirituality and truth. Bridget Jones: The Age of Reason picks up about a month following Diary. Mark Darcy is still around (quite a coup for Bridget, who rarely hangs on to a boyfriend long enough to call him one) and while she is no longer a Singleton, she is fast becoming a Smug-Going-Out-With-Someone. But, guilty-pleasured Bridget fans, don't despair: Trouble always finds Bridget, usually at her own invitation. It doesn't take long for Bridget, Shaz, Jude, and their complete library of self-help books to convince Bridget that she is Mark's Just for Now Girl, and once again our dear heroine is catapulted back into the familiar and dreaded world of Singletons.
Magda and Jeremy pop in and out from their Smug Married Life, and have Vile Richard and Pretentious Jerome mended their ways? Depends on who's talking. Unfortunately, Tom does not happen 'round as much as we would like; well, after all, we were there for him during his nose job and musings about Pretentious Jerome in Diary, only to have him deliver most of his witticisms via telephone in Reason? How dare he? How dare Fielding? Instead, we get a large dose of Mum and Shaz, and they are annoying (thanks to Fielding's clever writing). And Bridget, still being abused by her crazed boss Richard Finch (not to be confused with Jude's Vile Richard), does manage a short-lived career high when she interviews Colin Firth in Italy. She also hits a new low when she is imprisoned in Thailand for drug trafficking. While prison life is often over the top (even for Bridget), most readers will empathize with her longing for a shower and a copy of Marie Claire.
I didn't think it could be done, but Fielding has once again written a laugh out loud chronicle of Bridget Jones's misadventures. And yes, someone does leave the ranks of Singleton permanently, but to become a Smug Married? Never! Don't be fooled into thinking you're too high-browed for this sort of fun, for Bridget is a case in point: Pride cometh before the fall.
Abbey Anclaude is a former teacher who writes from her home in Nashville, Tennessee.