Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review addresses both the book and the audiobook. Bridget Jones is that dear friend that we all know who manages to somehow just mess things up, without even trying. A social klutz to no end, but you can’t help but to smile and love the poor girl. For those who read (or listened, or watched) the first book, Bridget Jones Diary, you’ll remember the story ends with Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy in a typical “Happily Ever After” scenario. “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” picks up shortly after that and asks “What does happen in happily ever after?” The couple gets together in the third act, but what happens in the fourth act? Helen Fielding answers this by showing the listener that happily ever after does not always work out the way we expected.
We find dear Bridget still working away at her diary in the new year and dancing on cloud nine now that she is currently going out with Mark Darcy. Her elation doesn’t so much fade but morphs into a bit of neurosis as she and her single friends (singletons) analyzed every word and action of Mark Darcy with the assistance of numerous self-help books. In fact, these self-help books bring about Bridget’s demise, for some many different books professing often conflicting philosophies and how to achieve “happiness”—that her actions resulting from said influence, almost always backfire.
Within a few months, the couple has gone its separate ways due to a series of miscommunications and mishaps on both ends. So Bridget returns to the world of singletons, still deathly scared of dying alone in her flat only to be found half-eaten by wolves. So it’s back to the world of self-help books and her fellow singletons, all of which preach different “must do” tactics to happiness and yet they have not achieved such happiness either.
It almost seems that since the previous year, nothing has really changed for her. She still looks the same, weighs the same, smokes the same amount of cigarettes, drinks the same amount of alcohol, and is still single. But this time, she knows she wants Mark Darcy, but getting him back become quite the problem.
Bridget faces many challenges and new exciting adventures such as a botched remodeling attempt in her flat that does nothing but leave a large gaping hole in the wall for the rest of the world to see and an interview with Colin Firth in which she obsesses of his part as Mr. Darcy in “Pride & Prejudice”. Her mishaps are on a grander scale this year—including several run-ins with the police, a death threat, and involvement in an international drug ring. It doesn’t spoil the end to let your know that she does find her way back to Mark Darcy—that’s inevitable—however, the adventure getting there is the real joy of this audiobook. The height of which leaves her in a Thai female prison singing Madonna songs in her undergarments for the other inmates.
There’s one point in the book that puts a whole blur on reality and art is the actor, Colin Firth. Numerous times, Bridget refers to Colin Firth and how she loves the scene in “Pride & Prejudice” where he leaps into the pond. In the book, she is given an opportunity to interview him. Now, in the movie “Bridget Jones Diary”, Mark Darcy is played by none other but Colin Firth. This put a tint of irony to the whole situation for those who have seen the movie, because Colin Firth is held to be the ideal man by Bridget and her singletons.
At some points in the book, where Bridget goes over each minute of her day (usually as part of some joke the author is plotting), the listener might get annoyed to hear the time read out five to six times in a row: 12:01AM, 12:02AM, 12:03AM, 1204AM, 1205AM. The repetitiveness can wear on the listener because often, the joke is predictable at that point and therefore, the humor doesn’t play out as well. Regardless of this, the book still plays out fantastically. The diary format lends itself well as an audiobook.
Barbara Rosenblat is sensational! There, it’s been said. She magnificently narrated this audiobook; I can’t imagine it being done any better. Her vibrancy and accent are simply smashing. She maintains the liveliness that permeates from Bridget’s diary, even during the low times. Her narration is like seeing right into the mind of Bridget Jones and directly listening to her thoughts. Her talents at understanding and properly voice the feeling of text is more than impressive—it’s perfect.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is not great work—but it is a great source of entertainment—poignant, funny, and very enjoyable. Bridget is an endearing and sweet woman, whom we can all relate to. Helen Fielding has produced another gem of a novel that keeps the readers and listeners deeply entertained and laughing.
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