We all loved Bridget Jones when she made her debut in the nineties. In her thirties, single and constantly making a mess of her life, she was looked upon as the realistic flawed heroine all women needed. Then the third book, titled Bridget Jones: Mad about The Boy, came along, turning Bridget into a widow and a single mother of two. But guess what happens after the story ends? The author goes back in time and writes a prequel. So our favourite diarist is back and her life’s as disastrous as ever!
Last year, the film by the same name was released on cinema screens amid cheers from fans of Jones and Darcy, but this fourth book is actually based on the original pre-novels/films. A fictional character that Helen Fielding wrote about in a newspaper column in The Independent, her story ended when she stopped writing her diary on becoming a mother. Just as in the column, Bridget in this book goes through her pregnancy with two contenders for fatherhood – Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver – who are still as dignified and charming (in that order) as ever. Given that Mark is dead before the start of the third book and in the film for Bridget Jones’s Baby Daniel is missing and presumed dead, it’s a relief to find both men very much alive in this tale, and still with polar opposite characters and an ongoing feud.
With Bridget and Mark’s engagement called off after an incident between Bridget and former flame Daniel (why are we not surprised?), the story starts just as it always does, with Bridget bumbling her way through numerous faux pas situations that could never end well. Only, once the shock and disbelief are out of the way, Bridget is finally pleased with a blunder. She’s a single career woman who does not need a man in her life, as she would put it herself, till a surprise pregnancy makes her very happy, yet also causes a new predicament: how to tell both the ‘fathers’ that there’s only a fifty-per-cent chance that her baby is theirs. Alternately vying for her attention, sulking and nursing their wounded pride, Mark and Daniel seem to add to, rather than help, with Bridget’s problems, but a knight in shining armour is bound to come through for her at the end.
Written in the same diary entry form we’ve come to know and love, this is definitely an improvement over the previous books – The Edge of Reason and Mad about The Boy – both of which suffered major sequel symptoms and rambled on unnecessarily, finding a zillion ways for Bridget to be Bridget that were sorely put together just to keep the story going. In Bridget Jones’s Baby, our heroine is in her element, forgetting her mobile phone password and locking herself out of her home in true Bridget style. She’s getting older but apparently not wiser, and still makes us feel that it’s ok to be the catalyst of multiple fiascos. Previously, she was counting calories, now she’s ballooning towards a due date. This book is a laugh a minute, as Bridget achieves her biggest dream whilst struggling with two partners-in-crime and a very important lesson learnt: eco-dolphin-friendly condoms shouldn’t be used past their expiry date.
Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries was kindly provided by Agenda Bookshop