‘Bridget Jones’ returns with successful sequel

By Becky Gottel

I really hate the word “chick-lit.” It dismisses an entire genre of literature. Some of the books that fall into the category should be dismissed. I once threw out a best-selling “chick-lit” book at the Green Street Coffee House after I hated the first chapter. But Bridget Jones, the popular character who started it all, deserves respect as a neurotic, self-conscious and lovably self-aware woman created by Helen Fielding.

Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, Fielding’s sequel to “Bridget Jones” and soon to be a major motion picture, is hysterical. Bridget is getting back on her feet again and her self-help books are starting to pay off as evidenced by her March 5 diary entry:

“7 p.m. Back home. Surely it is not normal to be treating my answerphone like an old-fashioned human partner: rushing home to it from work to see what mood it is in, whether it will tinklingly confirm that I am lovable and an acceptable member of society or be empty and distant, like now for example…

“7:06 p.m. Yes, you see love is not something that happens to you but something you do. So what didn’t I do?

“7:08 p.m. Am assured, receptive, responsive woman of substance. My sense of self comes not from other people but from…from…myself? That can’t be right.

“7:09 p.m. Anyway. Good thing is am not obsessing about Mark Darcy. Am starting to detach.

“7:15 p.m. Goody, telephone! Maybe Mark Darcy!”

As Bridget deals with her new relationship with Mark Darcy, she battles her parents’ struggle to revive their marriage, her married friend’s motherhood struggles and her closest girlfriends’ destructive relationships and conflicting advice. She begins to wonder if relationships are really all they are touted to be. Take the entry from January 31:

“Realize when start a new relationship with a new person there will be differences between you…but had never, ever in a million years suspected I might have been sleeping with a man who voted Tory. Suddenly felt I didn’t know Mark Darcy at all, and for all I knew, all the weeks we had been going out he had been secretly collecting limited edition miniature pottery animals wearing bonnets from the back pages of Sunday supplements, or slipping off to rugby matches on a bus and mooning at other motorist out of the back window.”

Fielding’s characters jump to conclusions and overall act too humanly. Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason is an all too accurate picture of one woman bumbling with life. But, it’s worth taking her lead and laughing at it as we go along.