I bought Bridet Jones's Diary when it came out a couple of years ago. I loved it. I gave numerous copies as gifts at Christmas, including one for my brother, who loved it too. Helen Fielding's portrayal of the modern single women was breathtakingly dead-on and funny. I went to see the movie at the insistence of a friend, reluctant because I thought it would ruin the magic. It didn't. You know what did? The sequel.

Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason isn't as funny, and doesn't strike as many chords with the reader. From slightly neurotic, Bridget becomes incapable and almost hysterical. The situations she finds herself in are no longer familiar occurences like boring yet deadly office cocktail parties or disastrous family reunions but more like something out of an American action film.

Perhaps part of the problem is that The Edge of Reason was not written in installments, unlike Bridget Jones's Diary, which was actually a weekly column in a newspaper. She overuses techniques which were funny in the first book (the drunken entries, the return to the diary every few minutes), making the book feel like a retread. A mediocre retread.

What I loved about the original was that I saw myself in Bridget. The sequel turned her (and me?) into an incapable and whiny bore. I no longer rooted for her happiness, but wondered why the people in her life put up with her at all.

So when friends who have borrowed the first one ask to borrow the second, I refuse. I don't want the magic to be lost to them as well.

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