Pff. I knew it couldn't last. The crazy, endearing sillyness of Bridget Jones' Diary is almost completely gone from this frustrating sequel. Worse, the whole thing felt unnecessary, written only because people loved Bridget so much and they just wanted some more. But all the heart is gone out of it.
It's still mildly enjoyable, I guess. On the one hand, Bridget is still the same crazy, paranoid, self-doubting geek from the first book. Her parents are still insane, her friends are still giving her bad advice that she's still taking. On the other hand...well, see everything I just said. It's the exact same ingredients that made the original so much fun, but with a second serving the whole quirky soup gets a little exhausting. On top of that there's the frustration when you realize that Bridget didn't learn a damned thing from her trials and tribulations in the first book. She has Mark Darcy, who she spent an entire book learning loved her for who she was and didn't want her to change. But within a few pages she turns into a paranoid idiot again, terrified when a woman at Mark's work even comes close to him. And poor Mark is left completely bewildered when Bridget goes into freak-out mode, trying so hard to be the perfect woman for Mark that she ends up making him think she hates him. She spent the whole of the last book learning that her friends might not be the best people to take relationship advice from, but in this book the advice gets even worse and Bridget keeps listening to them. And so, Bridget goes from someone who's just slightly confused to someone who just might be an idiot.
The plot feels clunky and forced. Fielding keeps throwing Bridget into increasingly dumber situations, and like in any cliched romantic comedy, you know that something (stupid) will drive Bridget and Mark apart. The whole thing just gets annoying and cliched, and where the first book made me go "Oh, Bridget..." a lot, this one was more of a "Dammit, Bridget. Stop being an idiot". And don't even get me started on the whole stupid Thailand trip. It's cringeworthy.
There are still some funny scenes, and some very cute allusions to "Persuasion", my favorite Austen book. Bridget's parents are still just as hilarious as they were before, and their scenes with Bridget are some of the best in the book. But unfortunately the weaknesses of the first book just get augmented here. Mark is never completely fleshed out, so you never really get a hold of what his character is like. Though I suppose that that's sort of the point. Bridget's silly paranoia becomes irritating, and she's made a little dumber and clueless here. The whole thing is sadly predictable, just your cliched romantic comedy.
So, to conclude, this was just flat out disappointing. Funny and a harmless, easy read, but definitely a step down from the original. Too bad.