By Helen Fielding
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 390 pages
It seems that fate has dealt Bridget Jones aka Bridget Darcy a blow, in Helen Fielding’s new book, Mad about the boy. If we remember correctly, she did get her happy ever after, with two suitors fighting for her love and riding off into the sunset. However, that sunset contained rain, which poured on her parade and tragedy struck. She is single; however, not of her own choosing – she had married the handsome, human rights lawyer, Mark Darcy aka Colin Firth (quite the charming leading man that he is). We meet her again, 13 years later to be exact and almost in the same predicament. After a horrible accident in the Sudan, Bridget finds herself in her mid 50’s, trying to navigate the waters of single parenthood, Twitter (her handle is @JoneseyBJ, for those who wish to follow her), and hopefully finding love again, which might or might not happen in an likely place – insert Daniel Craig or similar type of one’s choosing.
Thirteen years does make a difference if you read the previous Bridget Jones books. If we remember correctly, she was more an analog girl and reluctantly accepted the digital age (after many tries with turning on the TV) now she can create a Tweet that would put most people to shame. She rears their two young children, Billy and Mabel, with help of friends, family, and neighbors all while trying to remember their father and not drive their mother crazy – see filed under tree climbing incident. Friends, including Daniel Cleaver aka Hugh Grant, who turns out to be the children’s godfather and in a pinch, a babysitter.
The writing is the same from the two previous books, in short diary form with not only the time stamped, but her daily weight, daily consumption of alcohol and so forth – entries which makes the read breezy but relatable. This style of writing makes the book a fast and quick read, one that can be finished in little time. It also lets the reader see that Bridget’s search for love is real and includes all trials and tribulations that we all go through and can relate to, the never knowing what to say (but thank god for Twitter), general awkwardness, and in the end, rewarding if one keeps their eyes and heart open.
I enjoyed the list of dating books and advice that she shares with us, taking seriously as if there was a test at the end of her dates. Such practical advice includes, “Always be classy, never be crazy” and “Don’t get stoned or pissed out of you brain.” Advice that works for anyone, no matter his or her age or how long they have been out of the dating game. On the other hand, I did find this Bridget a bit annoying and always in a hurry – whether it was getting the kids to a school function or working on her writing (that never seemed to go anywhere). Which made me want to skim parts of the story and get to other matters in the book. I must admit, I do not make a habit of this skimming practice. In the end, I enjoyed reading about a Bridget who even though had one perfect ending and thought that life would be smooth sailing was able to overcome loss and find love again, but this time without the wedded bliss.
Reviewed by Annie Hicks