A lot of reviewers think this book doesn't work because the premise is unrealistic. Because there are plenty of women Bridget Jones' age who are single mothers due to divorce,
but very few who are widows.
Yeah, you know what I've noticed about the other two Bridget Jones books? They're one hundred percent realistic.
The stuff that happens to Bridget is stuff all women of a certain age can relate to.
Like, remember that time Bridget's mom got involved with that sexy con artist wanted by Interpol? Oh! Or the time Bridget landed in a Thai prison thanks to a phony drug-smuggling charge? We've all
been THERE! Seriously! We've all been in actual prison, in Thailand! That's why we read Bridget Jones books -- because we can all, like, relate so HARD!
If you liked the other Bridget Jones books, read this one. It's as simple as that. Bridget is as endearingly baffled as ever, and she's a lot of fun to watch.
That said: Yes, I enjoyed the first two books more than I did this one. But that's because I'm shallow and picky. Bridget has two small children in this book, and Helen Fielding found it necessary to have a lot of extremely detailed descriptions of various bodily excretions. I just really hate that kind of thing.
Also, okay: Remember all the terrific scenes in The Edge of Reason
with Bridget and her best friend's kids, where Fielding really nailed how kids talk and wrote some terrific dialogue for some very young characters? Well, she kind of fell down on that part of the job in this book. Bridget's daughter has a part-time lisp -- not an actual speech impediment, but one of those "I'm the author and I don't think readers will remember this is a really young kid unless I make her talk funny" tells that lazy writers employ. That got old quickly.
But I'm quibbling. This story is funny, and often genuinely moving. Oh, and guess what, reviewers from the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and any other papers who thought that women readers wouldn't be able to relate to a widow in her early fifties? I'm in my forties, and I found myself identifying fondly with many of Bridget's worries. She's intimidated by effortlessly glamorous moms. She can't figure out how to use the remote now that they all look and act like advanced-physics calculators. She worries about her weight and then feels guilty about being so shallow. She knows she should eat healthy, but wants to eat the yummy bad stuff because, hello? Yummy.
I can relate.