I find myself agreeing with reviewer Barbara Ellen’s comment in The Guardian (online edition 17/10/16) that the Bridget Jones series of books and films ‘is showing distinct signs of wear and tear’. It is not surprising that Helen Fielding has moved away from Bridget’s focus on her weight and, supposedly, related attractiveness given the increasing concern about the unrealistic body images girls and women are presented with in the media.
Bridget is under pressure from her mother and her friends with children to marry and have kids, just as she is pulled in the opposite direction by her job as a television producer and her single friends. She had seemingly missed her chance with Mark Darcy when, at their engagement party, he finds Daniel Cleaver lifting up her skirt for a last look at her ‘mummy pants’. She doesn’t see Darcy for some five years and then they meet when they are both godparents to a mutual friend’s child. By this time, Darcy has been married and divorced and the inevitable happens – they spend the night together.
When Darcy does not get in touch to continue this rekindled relationship, Bridget worries that she is no longer attractive and has become toxic. To reassure herself, she spends the night with Cleaver. When she belatedly realises she is pregnant, Bridget has to navigate a whole range of decisions: to become a parent – that biological clock is ticking – or remain ‘everyone’s favourite godmother’; choose the advice of drunken singles or smug mothers; career or motherhood; right down finding out who is the father of her baby, Darcy or Cleaver?
The broad brush characterisations present the putative fathers as having the makings of one integrated person between them. While Darcy is wealthy, moral, upright but stuffy, Cleaver is charming, needy and completely unreliable. Not knowing which one is the father of her baby provides plenty of opportunities for confusion and laughs for the reader and I won’t give away the surprise. Expect plenty of laughs and lots of bad language in this book which would be a great Summer Read.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 10: 6
Released by: Penguin Books Australia
Release Date: October 2016
RRP: $27.99 hardback