Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason: A Novel by Helen FieldingBridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason: A Novel by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason: A Novel

byHelen Fielding

Paperback | February 1, 2001

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With another devastatingly hilarious, ridiculous, unnervingly accurate take on modern womanhood, Bridget Jones is back. (v.g.)

Monday 27 January

"7:15 a.m. Hurrah! The wilderness years are over. For four weeks and five days now have been in functional relationship with adult male, thereby proving am not love pariah as recently feared."

Wednesday 5 March

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

Lurching from the cappuccino bars of Notting Hill to the blissed-out shores of Thailand, everyone's favorite Singleton Bridget Jones begins her search for The Truth in spite of pathetically unevolved men, insane dating theories, and Smug Married advice. She experiences a zeitgeist-esque Spiritual Epiphany somewhere between the pages of How to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It (can self-help books really help self?), protective custody, and a lightly chilled Chardonnay.

Helen Fielding, a journalist and a novelist, is the author of three previous novels, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Cause Celeb. She also co-wrote the screenplays for the movie of Bridget Jones’s Diary and the forthcoming sequel based on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Title:Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.07 × 0.6 inPublished:February 1, 2001Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140298479

ISBN - 13:9780140298475

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! Bridget and her crazy adventures are back; always tons of fun.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First book was better This book was a hilarious and quick read. Helen is at her best. It was funny and you got to know more of Bridget and Mark but I will admit that the first book was the best.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I always love entering the world of Bridget Jones An excellent series and lovely sequel.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A disappointing sequel "Meh" sums up this book in a non-actual word. The story had problems, the worst of it being pure ridiculous plot-points that seemed to make the reader have to stretch their own reason. I wasn't a fan of the book or the film. However, if you liked the film, then you will probably like this.
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from the second never the same Still a good book but the first was so original
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sequel as Good One of the funniest books I ever read! The characters retain their marvelous structure from the first part and obviously, if you've read the first book, you'll catch right along with this one as far as characters' psychology goes. They're still loveable (some of them), hateable (the rest of them) but all utterly human and relatable.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sequel as Good One of the funniest books I ever read! The characters retain their marvelous structure from the first part and obviously, if you've read the first book, you'll catch right along with this one as far as characters' psychology goes. They're still loveable (some of them), hateable (the rest of them) but all utterly human and relatable.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Sequel Helen Fielding does a great job of bringing us back to Bridget and her witty, charming, and sometimes disastrous, world - a funny and enjoyable read.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as the first book in the series At the beginning of Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, Bridget has been going out with Mark Darcy for four weeks, and she is getting used to being part of a couple. Enters Rebecca, a beautiful, successful and rich colleague of Mark who is determined to steal Bridget's boyfriend. Seeking advice from her friends and her self-help books, Bridget becomes convinced that Mark has a lot more in common with Rebecca than with her, and she breaks it off with him. To make matters worse, her job is going nowhere thanks to her crazy, erratic boss, a renovation project in her apartment has gone horribly wrong, and her father has become an alcoholic. While I enjoyed parts of the book, I believe that the Bridget Jones series has lost some of its appeal. Is it because I am older than the first time I read it? After all, I am married with one kid, while I was single when I first laid my hands on the books. Or is it because the series hasn't aged well? And am I the only one who thinks that it was a little creepy that Mark was always lurking around her apartment (when she was babysitting Magda's kids, or when she was looking for Tom's cellphone, for example)? Luckily, there are some great comic scenes which redeem the book, such as Bridget's interview with Colin Firth, or how she passes the time while in a Thailand prison. I wonder if the last book in the series, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, will be better though... I guess there is only one way to find out: I will need to read it. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from While I still somewhat enjoyed this book, Bridget Jones' character for me is like fingernails on a blackboard. The style of writing frustrated me as did her complete incompetence for anything. I find her stupidity unrealistic- no real journalist would screw up an interview like that. She is so immature in her relationship, unable to make a decision without the ridiculous advise of her 'singleton' friends and unable to feel happy without a man in her life. She is a completely desperate and cringe-worthy character, which I suppose is the point.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Most Honest Portrayal of a Woman I related so much. Hilarious book! High recommend it!
Date published: 2013-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just plain fun! Continuing on where Bridget Jones's Diary left off, this book is probably one of the funniest books I have ever read. So I don't recommend reading it on public transit unless you don't mind everyone staring at you when you almost fall off your seat laughing, with tears of mirth running down your cheeks (as happened to me). Bridget is an off-centre but well-meaning, eminently likeable character - anything but elegant and that is half the fun. The writing style makes it easy to breeze through this book in no time, leaving you longing to read through it again! Follows the life of this thirty-something British journalist/reporter through dating woes and and adventure in South-East Asia.
Date published: 2006-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a little Bridget in all of us... This is the book for every woman who finds herself in impossibly ludicrous social situations. Who tries to keep a handle on her units of alcohol, number of cigarettes smoked, weight she's lost/gained, number of chocolate bars consumed and all other impossible female only dilemmas. See BJ as she tries to navigate the spectacularly bad advice given to her by well meaning friends and the wardrobe mishaps she has. See her with the bad guy and the good guy and how instantly it can all go horribly wrong. Helen Fielding has given a voice to single women, slogging through it all, everywhere!
Date published: 2006-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from laugh out loud I could not stop laughing while reading this book! I enjoyed it more than the first bridget jones novel, it is a constant laugh. Read it, you will not regret this choice!
Date published: 2006-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gaaaaaahhh... you simply MUST read this book! My hat is off to Helen Fielding and her completely off-the-wall imagination (er,hole-in-the-wall imagination). I laughed and laughed! When reading Bridget's diary I just feel SO much better about own glad embarrassing moments are happening to somebody else and not self. But then find self completely rooting for Bridget and daily exploits. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has ever written Xmas cards after many many alcohol units . I just finished the Edge of Reason yesterday (43,200 seconds ago) and already craving more stories of the beloved Bridget. I give the book a perfect 10.
Date published: 2005-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read Book It's such a great and funny book that I've ever read for years. It made me laugh and laugh while reading on the GoTrain. Too bad that the story wasn't long enough and kept me laughing enough. I really enjoyed the part for Mark and Bridget and wish it would talk more about just both of them in the book. I also enjoyed the part about Pride and Prejudice and Colin Firth thing since I was a big fan for that as well. Kind of feel lost after finishing the book. Really look forward to the next one coming out, hopefully soon.,p> BTW, I've just started reading Bridget Jone's Diary and it seems funny but not funnier than the Edge of Reason. So I think people don't have to read the first one before getting started reading the second one because they would still enjoy it very much just like me.
Date published: 2004-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from V.G. read You'll be speaking to all your friends in of journal entry, and laughing out loud while reading (caution commuters!). Absolutely hilarious.
Date published: 2002-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatly Hilarious Recommend this book to all your friends. If you thought that Bridget would no longer get into trouble you are greatly mistaken; Think ringing garbage cans, rotting meat and drug smuggling. Always a fun read to pick you up after a bad day because nobody can beat Bridget for bad days.
Date published: 2002-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LIKE CHOCOLATE A great book. Very uplifting, like chocolate for my soul. Good for the bath, good before bed. The kind of book that can be read over and over again. You don't necessarily have to begin at the beginning. A single page on a bad day will do you well.
Date published: 2002-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is such a great book! IMO even better than the first one. It's the perfect book to read when you're in a girly kinda mood! Also recommend Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Slave to Fashion.
Date published: 2002-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent book! just finished reading the edge of reason and found myself laughing out loud! my boyfriend thought i was crazy! bridget jones is THE singleton of ALL singletons and her life triumphs and falls are a hilarious read! what's next? i loved the whole colin firth thing and couldn't help but laugh at his mention! you really should get this's a great read and puts you in a good mood no matter how your feeling when you pick the book up!!!
Date published: 2002-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why did it have to end? One of best books I have read in a long time. It was laugh out loud funny, exhilarating and even sususpenseful. It had a twist on it I never thought could be possible.
Date published: 2001-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from She's BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't think it could be funnier than the first... but I was laughing out loud! Every woman can relate to Bridget and it helps us see our problems in a humourous light. Way better than the first... and hoping for a third!!
Date published: 2001-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FUNNY funny FuNuY fUnUy As you read in the title of this review, thats how good this book is....If you had read the original, this book takes off where it left off....Its soo much more funnier than the first and the trials that Bridge goes through makes you feel for the poor girl....but after the sun has set and the book ends, its the ending is what we have all hoped for!
Date published: 2001-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Again!!! I read Bridget Jones Diary in one weekend and the next weekend I had to get Edge of Reason. I read this one even faster than the first one. What a great book!!! It made me laugh and snicker all over again. Bridget sure has quite a life. When she was in Thailand, the situation reminded me about the movie Brokedown Palace. Thank goodness she got out, and more than 10 lbs lighter to boot. I would strongly recommend this one to all my friends, but only after they have read the first one. I sure hope there is another edition to this enthralling woman and her manic life!!!
Date published: 2001-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of Three "Musts" It's a chick thing. Get the full Bridget Jones experience by reading "Bridget Jones's Diary" and then seeing the movie. Finally, read "Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason." The appearance of the actor Colin Firth in the movie and being mentioned in the second book is a riot.
Date published: 2001-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The singleton returns! Helen Fielding does not disappoint with the hilarious and brilliant sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary. The book takes us through Bridget's adventures once more as she bravely faces the jungles of single life. Fielding manages to throw in new twists and turns and keeps you wondering if she has been rummaging through your own life when writing this book. For those that haven't read the first book, do not fear as you will be able to follow along just fine!
Date published: 2001-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Funny! This book just puts you in a good mood. A good laugh out loud. See what Bridget has in store for the next 365 days
Date published: 2001-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could NOT put the book down! The book was amazing and I could not stop laughing! Unfortunately, I was unable to find the "Bridget Jones Diary" at any bookstore, so I read this without any prior knowledge of the character and book was still quite easy to follow. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to laugh, but note that you may spend all night reading this since it was so hard for me to put the book down!
Date published: 2001-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good for a chuckle This book is great for a lazy afternoon read. It is something that all young women can related to on at least one level. Read this book and then pass it on to your girlfriends! You will all have a smile on your face as you relate to Bridget's adventures in life.
Date published: 2001-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal This book picks up right where the first novel left off. It's every bit as hilarious and just as accurate a portrayal of modern women as was Bridget Jones' Diary. The story takes on a bit more of an unbelievable twist, perhaps just a reminder that this is, afterall, a work of fiction. I recommend it to anyone who's ever had any insecurity about anything. You'll relate!
Date published: 2001-02-28

Read from the Book

From Chapter 1Happily Ever AfterMonday 27 January129ibs. (total fat groove), boyfriends 1 (hurrah!), shags 3 (hurrah!), calories 2,100, calories used up by shags 600, so total calories 1,500 (exemplary).7.15 a.m. Hurrah! The wilderness years are over. For four weeks and five days now have been in functional relationship with adult male thereby proving am not love pariah as previously feared. Feel marvelous, rather like Jemima Goldsmith or similar radiant newlywed opening cancer hospital in veil while everyone imagines her in bed with Imran Khan. Ooh. Mark Darcy just moved. Maybe he will wake up and talk to me about my opinions.7.30 a.m. Mark Darcy has not woken up. I know, will get up and make him fantastic fried breakfast with sausages, scrambled eggs and mushrooms or maybe Eggs Benedict or Florentine.7.31 a.m. Depending what Eggs Benedict or Florentine actually are.7.32 a.m. Except do not have any mushrooms or sausages.7.33 a.m. Or eggs.7.34 a.m. Or - come to think of it - milk.7.35 a.m. Still has not woken up. Mmmm. He is lovely. Love looking at Him asleep. V. sexy broad shoulders and hairy chest. Not that sex object or anything. Interested in brain. Mmmm.7.37 a.m. Still has not woken up. Must not make noise, realize, but maybe could wake Him subtly by thought vibes.7.40 a.m. Maybe will put . . . GAAAAAH!7.50 a.m. Was Mark Darcy sitting bolt upright yelling, "Bridget, will you stop. Bloody. Staring at me when I am asleep. Go find something to do."8.45 a.m. In Coins Café having cappuccino, chocolate croissant, and cigarette. Is relief to have fag in open and not to be on best behaviour. V. complicated actually having man in house as cannot freely spend requisite amount of time in bathroom or turn into gas chamber as conscious of other person late for work, desperate for pee etc.; also disturbed by Mark folding up underpants at night, rendering it strangely embarrassing now simply to keep all own clothes in pile on floor. Also he is coming round again tonight so have to go to supermarket either before or after work. Well, do not have to but horrifying truth is want to, in bizarre possibly genetic-throwback-style way such as could not admit to Sharon.8.50 a.m. Mmm. Wonder what Mark Darcy would be like as father (father to own offspring, mean. Not self. That would indeed be sick in manner of Oedipus)?8.55 a.m. Anyway, must not obsess or fantasize.9 a.m. Wonder if Una and Geoffrey Alconbury would let us put marquee on their lawn for the recept—Gaaah!Was my mother, walking into my café bold as brass in a Country Casuals pleated skirt and apple-green blazer with shiny gold buttons, like a spaceman turning up in the House of Commons squirting slime and sitting itself down calmly on the front bench."Hello, darling," she trilled. "Just on my way to Debenhams and I know you always come in here for your breakfast. Thought I'd pop in and see when you want your colours done. Ooh I fancy a cup of coffee. Do you think they'll warm up the milk?""Mum, I've told you I don't want my colours done," I muttered, scarlet, as people stared and a sulky, rushed-off-her-feet waitress bustled up."Oh don't be such a stick-in-the-mud, darling. You need to make a statement about yourself! Not sitting on the fence all the time in all these fudges and slurries. Oh, hello, dear."Mum went into her slow, kindly "Let's try to make best friends with the waiting staff and be the most special person in the café for no fathomable reason" voice."Now. Let. Me. See. D'you know? I think I'll have a coffee. I've had so many cups of tea this morning up in Grafton Underwood with my husband Colin that I'm sick to death of tea. But could you warm me up some milk? I can't drink cold milk in coffee. It gives me indigestion. And then my daughter Bridget will have . . ."Grrr. Why do parents do this. Why? Is it desperate mature person's plea for attention and importance, or is it that our urban generation are too busy and suspicious of each other to be open and friendly? I remember when I first came to London I used to smile at everyone until a man on the tube escalator masturbated into the back of my coat."Espresso? Filter? Latte? Cap: half fat or de-caf?" snapped the waitress, sweeping all the plates off the table next to her and looking at me accusingly as if Mum was my fault."Half fat de-caf cap and a latte," I whispered apologetically."What a surly girl, doesn't she speak English?" huffed Mum at her retreating back. "This is a funny place to live, isn't it? Don't they know what they want to put on in the morning?"I followed her gaze to the fashionable Trustafarian girls at the next table. One was tapping at her laptop and wearing Timberlands, a petticoat, a Rastafarian bonnet and a fleece, while the other, in Prada stilettos, hiking socks, surfing shorts, a floor-length llamaskin coat and a Bhutanese herdsman's woolly hat with earflaps, was yelling into her mobile headset, "I mean, he said if he found me smoking skunk again he'd take away the flat. And I'm like, 'Fucking, Daddy'" - while her six-year-old child picked miserably at a plate of chips."Is that girl talking to herself with that language?" said Mum. "It's a funny world you live in, isn't it? Wouldn't you do better living near normal people?""They are normal people," I said furiously, nodding in illustration out at the street where unfortunately a nun in a brown habit was pushing two babies along in a pram."You see this is why you get yourself all mixed up.""I don't get myself mixed up.""Yes you do," she said. "Anyway. How's it going with Mark?""Lovely," I said moonily, at which she gave me a hard stare."You're not going to you-know-what with him, are you? He won't marry you, you know."Grrr. Grrrr. No sooner have I started going out with the man she'd been trying to force me onto for eighteen months ("Malcolm and Elaine"s son, darling, divorced, terribly lonely and rich") than I feel like I'm running some kind of Territorial Army obstacle course, scrambling over walls and nets to bring her home a big silver cup with a bow on."You know what they say afterwards," she was going on. "'Oh, she was easy meat." I mean when Merle Robertshaw started going out with Percival her mother said, "Make sure he keeps that thing just for weeing with.'""Mother—" I protested. I mean it was a bit rich coming from her. Not six months ago she was running around with a Portuguese tour operator with a gentleman's handbag."Oh, did I tell you," she interrupted, smoothly changing the subject, "Una and I are going to Kenya.""What!" I yelled."We're going to Kenya! Imagine, darling! To darkest Africa!"My mind started to whirl round and round searching through possible explanations like a fruit machine before it comes to a standstill: Mother turned missionary? Mother rented Out of Africa again on video? Mother suddenly remembered about Born Free and decided to keep lions?"Yes, darling. We want to go on safari and meet the Masai tribesmen, then stay in a beach hotel!"The slot machine clunked to a halt on a series of lurid images of elderly German ladies having sex on the beach with local youths. I stared levelly at Mum."You're not going to start messing around again, are you?" I said. "Dad's only just got over all that stuff with Julio.""Honestly, darling! I don't know what all the fuss was about! Julio was just a friend - a penfriend! We all need friends, darling. I mean even in the best of marriages one person just isn't enough: friends of all ages, races, creeds and tribes. One has to expand one's consciousness at every . . .""When are you going?""Oh, I don't know, darling. It's just an idea. Anyway must whizz. Byee!"Bugger. It's 9.15. Am going to be late for morning meeting.11 a.m. Sit Up Britain office. Was luckily only two minutes late for meeting, also managed to conceal coat by rolling it into ball to create pleasing sense of having been in for hours and merely detained on urgent trans-departmental business elsewhere in building. Made my way in composed manner through hideous open-plan office littered with the tell-tale remnants of bad daytime TV - here an inflatable sheep with a hole in its bottom, there a blow-up of Claudia Schiffer wearing Madeleine Albright's head, there a large cardboard sign saying: "LESBIANS! Out! Out! Out!" - towards where Richard Finch, sporting sideburns and black Jarvis Cocker spectacles, his portly frame squeezed hideously into a 70s retro safari suit was bellowing at the assembled twenty-something research team."Come on, Bridget Droopy-Drawers Late Again," he yelled, spotting my approach. "I'm not paying you to roll coats into a ball and try to look innocent, I'm paying you to turn up on time and come up with ideas."Honestly. The lack of respect day after day is beyond human endurance."Right, Bridget!" he roared. "I'm thinking New Labour Women. I'm thinking image and roles. I want Barbara Follett in the studio. Get her to give Margaret Beckett a make-over. Highlights. Little black dress. Stockings. I want to see Margaret looking like sex on legs."Sometimes there seems no limit to the absurdity of what Richard Finch will ask me to do. One day, I will find myself persuading Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell to stand in a supermarket while I ask passing shoppers if they can tell which one is which, or trying to persuade a Master of the Hunt to be chased naked through the countryside by a pack of vicious foxes. Must find more worthwhile fulfilling job of some kind. Nurse, perhaps?11.03 a.m. At desk. Right, had better ring Labour press office. Mmmm. Keep getting shag flashbacks. Hope Mark Darcy was not really annoyed this morning. Wonder if it is too early to ring him at work?11.05 a.m. Yes. As it says in How to Get the Love You Want - or maybe it was Keeping the Love You Find? - the blending together of man and woman is a delicate thing. Man must pursue. Will wait for him to ring me. Maybe had better read papers to brief self about New Labour policy in case actually get Margaret Beckett on end of . . . Gaaah!11.15 a.m. Was Richard Finch yelling again. Have been put on the fox-hunting item instead of Labour Women and have got to do live insert from Leicestershire. Must not panic. Am assured, receptive, responsive woman of substance. My sense of self comes not from my worldly achievements but from within. Am assured, receptive . . . Oh God. Is pissing it down. Do not want to go out in fridge-crossed-with-swimming pool-like world.11.17 a.m. Actually is v.g. to get interview to do. Big responsibility - relatively speaking, obviously, not like having to decide whether to send cruise missiles to Iraq, or holding clamp on main arterial valve during surgery - but chance to grill Fox-Murderer on camera and actually make a point rather like Jeremy Paxman with Iranian - or Iraqi - Ambassador.11.20 a.m. Might even be asked to do trial item for Newsnight.11.21 a.m. Or series of short specialized reports. Hurrah! Right, better get out cuts . . . Oh. Telephone.11.30 a.m. Was going to ignore it but thought it might be interviewee: Sir Hugo Rt Hon. Boynton-Fox-Murderer with directions about silos, pig-huts on the left etc. so picked up: was Magda."Bridget, hi! I was just ringing to say in the potty! In the potty! Do it in the potty!"There was a loud crashing noise followed by the sound of running water and screaming in manner of Muslims being massacred by Serbs with "Mummy will smack! She will smack!" as if on a loop in the background."Magda!" I yelled. "Come back!""Sorry, hon," she said, eventually returning. "I was just ringing to say . . . tuck your willy inside the potty! If you let it hang out it'll go on the floor!""I'm in the middle of work," I said pleadingly. "I've got to set off to Leicestershire in two minutes . . .""Great, fine, rub it in, you're all very glamorous and important and I'm stuck at home with two people who haven't learned to speak the English language yet. Anyway, I was just ringing to say that I've fixed for my builder to come round and do your shelves tomorrow. Sorry to have bothered you with my boring domesticity. He's called Gary Wilshaw. Bye."Phone rang again before had time to call back. Was Jude, sobbing in a sheep's voice."It's OK, Jude, It's OK," I said, tucking the phone under my chin and trying to shove the cuttings into my handbag."It's Vile Richard hegggggggg."Oh dear. After Christmas Shaz and I convinced Jude that if she had just one more mad conversation with Vile Richard about the shifting sands of his Commitment Problem she would have to be put into a mental hospital; and therefore they would not be able to have any mini-breaks, relationship counseling, or future together anyway for years and years until she was released into Care in the Community.In a magnificent feat of self-love she ditched him, cut her hair and started turning up to her staid job in the City wearing leather jackets and hipster jeans. Every striped-shirted Hugo, Johnny or Jerrers who had ever idly wondered what was under Jude's suit was catapulted into a state of priapic frenzy and she seems to have a different one on the phone every night. But somehow, the whole subject of Vile Richard still makes her sad."I was just going through all the stuff he left, ready to chuck it out, and I found this self-help book . . . book called . . . called . . .""It's OK. It's OK. You can tell me.""Called How to Date Young Women: A Guide For Men Over Thirty-Five."Jesus."I just feel terrible, terrible . . ." she was saying ". . . I can't stand being out in dating hell again . . . It's an impenetrable sea . . . I'm going to be on my own forever . . ."Working towards balance between importance of friendship and impossibility of getting to Leicestershire in negative amount of time, gave merely preliminary first-aid advice in manner of holding on to sense of self: probably left it there on purpose; no you're not; etc."Oh, thanks, Bridge," said Jude, after a while seeming a bit calmer. "Can I see you tonight?""Um, well, Mark's coming round."There was a silence."Fine," she said coolly. "Fine. No, you have a good time."Oh God, feel guilty with Jude and Sharon now I have boyfriend, almost like traitorous double-crossing side-switching guerrilla. Have arranged to see Jude tomorrow night instead, with Shaz, and merely talk through everything again on phone tonight, which seemed to go down OK. Now, had better quickly ring Magda and make sure she doesn't feel boring and realizes how opposite-of-glamorous job is."Thanks, Bridge," said Magda after we'd talked for a bit. "I'm just feeling really low and lonely since the baby. Jeremy's working again tomorrow night. Don't suppose you'd like to come round?""Um, well, I'm supposed to be seeing Jude in 192."There was a loaded pause."And I suppose I'm too much of a dull Smug Married to come along?""No, no, come. Come, that would be great!!" I overcompensated. Knew Jude would be cross as would take focus away from Vile Richard but resolved to sort out later. So now am really late and have got to go to Leicestershire without actually having read fox-hunting cuts. Maybe could read in car when at traffic lights. Wonder if should quickly ring Mark Darcy to tell him where am going?Hmmm. No. Bad move. But then what if I'm late? Had better ring.11.35 a.m. Humph. Conversation went like this:Mark: Yes? Darcy here.Me: It's Bridget.Mark: (pause) Right. Er. Everything OK?Me: Yes. It was nice last night, wasn't it? I mean - you know, when we . . .Mark: I do know, yes. Exquisite. (Pause) I'm actually with the Indonesian Ambassador, the Head of Amnesty International and the Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry just at the moment.Me: Oh. Sorry. I'm just going to Leicestershire. I thought I'd let you know in case anything happens to me.Mark: In case anything . . . ? What?Me: I mean in case I'm . . . late. (I finished lamely.)Mark: Right. Well, why not ring with an ETA when you're through? Jolly good. Bye now.Hmmm. Don't think I should have done that. It says specifically in Loving Your Separated Man Without Losing Your Mind that the one thing they really do not like is being called up for no real reason when they are busy.7 p.m. Back in flat. Nightmare rest of day. After challenging traffic and rain-blocked journey, found self in rain-swept Leicestershire, knocking on the door of a big square house surrounded by horseboxes, with only thirty minutes to go till transmission. Suddenly the door burst open, and a tall man was standing in corduroy trousers and a quite sexy baggy jumper."Humph," he said, eyeing me up and down. "Better bloody well come in. Your chaps are out the back. Where have you bloody well been?""I have been suddenly diverted from a top political story," I said hoity-toitily, as he led me into a big kitchen full of dogs and bits of saddle. Suddenly he turned and stared at me furiously, then biffed the table."It's supposed to be a free country. Once they start telling us we can't even bloody hunt on a Sunday where will it end? Baaaah!""Well, you could say that about people keeping slaves, couldn't you?" I muttered. "Or cutting the ears off cats. It just doesn't seem very gentlemanly to me, a crowd of people and dogs careering after one frightened little creature for fun.""Have you ever bloody seen what a fox does to a chicken?" Sir Hugo bellowed, turning red in the face. "If we don't hunt "em the countryside will be overrun.""Shoot them then," I said, staring at him murderously. "Humanely. And chase something else on Sundays, like in greyhound racing. Fasten a little fluffy animal impregnated with fox smell on to a wire.""Shoot them? Have you ever tried to shoot a bloody fox? There'll be your little frightened foxes left wounded in agony all over the bloody shop. Fluffy animal. Grrrrr!"Suddenly he grabbed the phone and dialed. "Finch, you total arse!" he bellowed. "What have you sent me . . . some bloody little pinko? If you think you're coming out with the Quorn next Sunday . . ." At which moment the cameraman put his head round the door and said huffily, "Oh you're here, are you?" Then looked at his watch. "Don't feel you have to let us know or anything.""Finch wants to talk to you," said Sir Hugo.Twenty minutes later, under pain of sacking, I was on a horse preparing to trot into shot and interview the Rt Hon. Bossybottom, also on a horse."OK, Bridget, we're coming to you in fifteen, go, go, go," yelled Richard Finch in my earpiece from London, at which I squeezed my knees into the horse, as instructed. Unfortunately, however, the horse would not set off."Go, go, go, go, go!" yelled Richard. "I thought you said you could bloody ride.""I said I had a natural seat," I hissed, digging frantically with my knees."OK, Leicester, tighter on Sir Hugo till fucking Bridget gets it together five, four, three, two . . . go."At this the Hon. Purpleface launched into a bellowing pro-hunting advertisement as I dug frantically with my heels until the horse reared up neurotically, cantering sideways into the shot as I clung to its neck."Oh my fuck, wind it up, wind it up!" yelled Richard."Well, that's all we've got time for. Now back to the studio!" I trilled as the horse wheeled round again and started reversing at the cameraman.After the sniggering crew had gone I went - mortified - into the house for my things, only to practically bump into the Rt Hon. Biffing Giant."Hah!" he growled. "Thought that stallion might teach you what's what. Fancy a bloody one?""What?" I said."Bloody Mary?"Fighting instinctive urge to glug at the vodka I drew myself up to my full height. "Are you saying you sabotaged my report on purpose?""Maybe." He smirked."That's absolutely disgraceful," I said. "And not worthy of a member of the aristocracy.""Hah! Spirit. I like that in a woman," he said throatily, then lunged towards me."Get off!" I said, dodging out of his way. I mean honestly. What was he thinking of? Am professional woman, not there to be made passes at. In any sense. Though, actually, just goes to prove how much men like it if they think you are not after them. Must remember for more useful occasion.Now have just got in, having trailed round Tesco Metro and staggered up stairs with eight carrier bags. Am really tired. Humph. How come is always me who goes to supermarket? Is like having to be career woman and wife at same time. Is like living in seventeenth . . . Oooh. Answerphone light is flashing."Bridget," - Richard Finch - "I want to see you in my office at 9 o'clock tomorrow. Before the meeting. That's 9 a.m. not 9 p.m. Morning. Daylight. I don't know how else to put it, really. Just bloody well make sure you're there."He sounded really pissed off. Hope am not about to discover impossibility of having a nice flat, a nice job and a nice boyfriend. Anyway, am going to give Richard Finch what for about journalistic integrity. Right. Better start getting everything ready. Am so tired.8.30 p.m. Have managed to get energy back using Chardonnay, shoved all mess away, lit fire and candles, had bath, washed hair and put on make-up and v. sexy black jeans and spaghetti-strap top. Not exactly comfortable, in fact crotch of trousers and spaghetti straps really digging into self, but look nice, which is important. For as Jerry Hall said, a woman must be a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the sitting room. Or some room anyway.8.35 p.m. Hurrah! Will be lovely cozy, sexy evening with delicious pasta - light yet nourishing - and firelight. Am marvelous career woman/girlfriend hybrid.8.40 p.m. Where the bloody hell is he?8.45 p.m. Grrr. What is point of self rushing round like scalded flea if he is just going to swan in whenever he feels like it?8.50 p.m. Bloody Mark Darcy, am really . . . Doorbell. Hurrah!He looked gorgeous in his work suit with the top buttons of his shirt undone. As soon as he came in he dropped his briefcase, took me in his arms and turned me round in a little sexy dance. "So good to see you," he murmured into my hair. "I really enjoyed your report, fantastic horsewomanship.""Don't," I said, pulling away. "It was awful.""It was brilliant," he said. "For centuries people have been riding horses forwards and then, with one seminal report, a lone woman changes the face - or arse - of British horsemanship for ever. It was ground-breaking, a triumph." He sat down on the sofa wearily. "I'm wrecked. Bloody Indonesians. Their idea of a breakthrough in human rights is to tell a person he's under arrest while they're shooting the back of his head off."I poured him a glass of Chardonnay and brought it to him in manner of James Bond-style hostess saying, with a calming smile, "Supper won't be long.""Oh my God," he said, looking around terrified as if there might be Far Eastern militia hiding in the microwave. "Have you cooked?""Yes," I said indignantly. I mean you would have thought he would have been pleased! Also he had not so much as mentioned the whore outfit."Come here," he said, patting the sofa, "I'm only teasing you. I've always wanted to go out with Martha Stewart."Was nice having cuddle but, thing was, pasta had already been on for six minutes and was going to go floury."I'll just do the pasta," I said, extracting myself. Just then, the phone rang and I lunged at it out of pure habit, thinking it might be him."Hi. It's Sharon. How's it going with Mark?""He's here," I whispered keeping my teeth and mouth clenched in the same position so Mark would not lip-read."What?""E's 'ere," I hissed clenched-teethedly."It's all right," said Mark, nodding reassuringly. "I realize I'm here. I don't think It's the sort of thing we should be keeping from each other.""OK. Listen to this," said Shaz excitedly. ""We are not saying that all men cheat. But all men do think about it. Men have these desires eating at them all the time. We try to contain our sexual urges . . ."""Actually, Shaz, I'm just cooking pasta.""Oooh, "just cooking pasta", are we? I hope you're not turning into a Smug Going-Out-With-Someone. Just listen to this and you'll want to put it on his head.""Hang on," I said, glancing nervously at Mark. I took the pasta off the heat and went back to the phone."OK," said Shaz excitedly. "'Sometimes instincts override higher-level thinking. A man will stare at, approach or bed a woman with small breasts if he is involved with a woman with large breasts. You may not think variety is the spice of life, but believe us, your boyfriend thinks so.'"Mark was starting to drum his fingers on the arm of the sofa."Shaz . . .""Wait . . . wait. It's this book called What Men Want. Right . . . "If you have a beautiful sister, or friend, rest assured that your boyfriend is HAVING THOUGHTS ABOUT SEX WITH HER.""There was an expectant pause. Mark had started miming throat slitting and toilet chain flushing motions."I mean isn't that revolting? Aren't they just . . . ?""Shaz, can I call you back later?"Next thing Shaz was accusing me of being obsessed with men when I was supposed to be a feminist. So I said, if she was supposed to be so uninterested in them, why was she reading a book called What Men Want? It was all turning into a hideously unfeminist man-based row when we realized it was ridiculous and said we'd see each other tomorrow."So!" I said brightly, sitting down next to Mark on the sofa. Unfortunately had to get up again as had sat on something that turned out to be an empty Müller Lite yogurt carton."Yeees?" he said, brushing the yogurt off my bottom. Sure there cannot have been that much on or needing quite such hard brushing but was very nice. Mmm."Shall we have supper?" I said, trying to keep my mind on the task in hand.Had just put pasta in bowl and poured jar of sauce on it when the phone rang again. Decided to leave it till had eaten but answerphone clicked on and Jude sheep-voiced out, "Bridge, are you there? Pick up, pick up. Come on, Bridge, pleeeeeease."I picked up the phone, as Mark hit himself hard on the forehead. The thing is, Jude and Shaz have been kind to me for years before I even met Mark so obviously it would not be right to leave the answerphone on now."Hi, Jude."Jude had been to the gym where she ended up reading some article calling single girls over thirty "re-treads"."The guy was arguing that the sort of girls who wouldn't go out with him in their twenties would go out with him now but he didn't want them any more," she said sadly. "He said they were all obsessed with settling down and babies and his rule with girls now was "Nothing over twenty-five".""Oh honestly!" I laughed gaily trying to fight a lurch of insecurity in my own stomach. "That's just complete bollocks. No one thinks you're a re-tread. Think of all those merchant bankers who've been ringing you up. What about Stacey and Johnny?""Huh," said Jude, though she was starting to sound more cheerful. "I went out with Johnny and his friends from Credit Suisse last night. Someone told a joke about this guy who drank too much in an Indian restaurant and passed out in a korma and Johnny is so literal that he went, 'Christ! How bloody awful. I knew a bloke who ate a lot of Indian food once, and he ended up with a stomach ulcer!'"She was laughing. The crisis ha.d clearly passed. You see there is nothing seriously wrong, she just gets a bit paranoid sometimes. Chatted a bit more and, once her confidence seemed firmly back in residence, I rejoined Mark at the table only to discover the pasta was not quite as had planned: slopping about wetly in white-coloured water."I like it," said Mark supportively, "I like string, I like milk. Mmmm.""Do you think we'd better call out for a pizza?" I said, feeling a failure and a re-tread.We ordered pizzas and ate them in front of the fire. Mark told me all about the Indonesians. I listened carefully and gave him my opinions and advice, which he said were very interesting and very "fresh", and I told him about horrid sacking meeting with Richard Finch. He gave me very good advice about working out what I wanted from the meeting and giving Richard plenty of places to go other than sacking me. As I explained to him, it was rather like the win-win mentality as advocated in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when the phone rang again."Leave it," said Mark."Bridget. Jude. Pick up. I think I've done the wrong thing. I just called Stacey and he hasn't called back."I picked up. "Well, maybe he's out.""Of his mind just like you," said Mark."Shut up," I hissed, while Jude ran through the scenario. "Look, I'm sure he'll ring tomorrow. But if he doesn't, just move back one of the Mars and Venus Stages of Dating. He's pulling away like a Martian rubber band and you have to let him feel his attraction and spring back."When I got off the phone, Mark was watching the football."Rubber bands and win-win Martians," he said, smirking at me. "It's like war command in the land of gibberish here.""Don't you talk to your friends about emotional matters?""Nope," he said, flicking the remote control from one football match to the other. I stared at him in fascination."Do you want to have sex with Shazzer?""I'm sorry?""Do you want to have sex with Shazzer and Jude?""I'd be delighted! Did you mean individually? Or both at the same time?"Trying to ignore his superficial tone, I pressed on. "When you met Shazzer after Christmas did you want to sleep with her?""Well. The thing is, you see, I was sleeping with you.""But has it crossed your mind ever?""Well, of course It's crossed my mind.""What?" I exploded."She's a very attractive girl. It would have been odd, surely, if it hadn't?" He grinned wickedly."And Jude," I said indignantly. "Sleeping with Jude. Has that ever "crossed your mind"?""Well, from time to time, fleetingly, I suppose it has. It's just human nature, isn't it?""Human nature? I've never imagined sleeping with Giles or Nigel from your office.""No," he murmured. "I'm not sure that anyone else has either. Tragically. Except possibly Jose in the post room."Just as we'd cleared away the plates and started snogging on the rug, the phone rang again."Leave it," said Mark. "Please - in the name of God and all his cherubim, seraphim, saints, archangels, cloud attendants and beard trimmers - leave it."The answerphone was already clicking on. Mark crashed his head down on to the floor as a man's voice boomed out."Ah, hi. Giles Benwick here, friend of Mark's. Don't suppose he's there, is he? It's just . . ." Suddenly his voice cracked. "It's just my wife just told me she wants a separation and . . .""Good God," said Mark and grabbed the phone. An expression of pure panic spread across his face. "Giles. Christ. Steady on . . . um . . . ah . . . um, Giles, I think I'd better give you to Bridget."Mmm. Did not know Giles but think advice was quite good. Managed to calm him down and point him in direction of one or two useful volumes. Had lovely shag with Mark afterwards and felt v. safe and cozy lying on his chest, made all the worrying theories seem irrelevant. "Am I a re-tread?" I said sleepily as he leaned over to blow out the candle."A retard? No, darling," he said, patting my bottom reassuringly. "A little strange, perhaps, but not a retard."

Editorial Reviews

"One of the most enchanting heroines to ever overdraw her bank account." --USA Today

"Glorious . . . a sequel that outshines its predecessor." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Bridget Jones is a joy and comfort, and Helen Fielding is bloody great." --Mademoiselle