Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding 9.21 p.m. Is it morally wrong to get a blow dry when I may have undetectable nit eggs at the start of their seven-day cycle?
9.25 p.m. Yes. It is morally wrong. Maybe Mabel and Billy should not go to play dates either?
9.30 p.m. Also feel should tell Roxster truth about nits, as lies are bad in a relationship. But maybe, in this case, lies better than lice?
9.35 p.m. Nits seem to be throwing up unfeasible number of modern moral dilemmas.
- Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy

When I heard Helen Fielding had released a new Bridget Jones novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it, regardless of the critical reviews, and I was very happy to receive this book as a birthday present in October. The hardcover edition is particularly pleasing, as it's been a while since I experienced the new-book, hardcover Harry Potter smell.

Bridget is now 50, with two young children, and, crucially, is a widow. Mark Darcy has been dead for four years, and Bridget, although still mourning him, is attempting to get back on the horse...via Twitter. Some have criticised the novel for not being true to Bridget's voice, but I find it highly unlikely that Fielding would have been able to please everyone, whatever direction she chose.

Fielding could have written Bridget and Darcy raising two kids together in a happy marriage, battling with school places, sex in marriage, and perhaps even 'mommy blogging' (a modern day Bridget would undoubtedly have been a part of this blogging community). Fielding chose not to go down this route, and used a bit more of her own experiences in raising two young children as a single mum and being back on the dating scene in her 50s.

There are some genuinely hilarious moments, and I had to stifle laughter several times on the train. My favourite moments includes Bridget's Freudian slip when referring to her screenplay 'The Leaves in his Hair' as 'the nits in his hair' while texting her toy-boy under the table in important meeting re: her children possibly having nits. There are also some sad parts, not least Bridget's memories of Mark Darcy, but the most sentimental part I felt was at the end. Bridget's father has passed away, and her mother, as full of life as ever, is living in a retirement home with her best friend, also a widow. Bridget and her mother have a similar relationship to the previous two books, but only at the end of the book do we see Bridget and her mother reconcile and tell each other how they really feel.

It is interesting to think about what the reception would have been to this book had it been Fielding's first Bridget novel. Readers are inclined to give 50 year old Bridget a pass with regard to her thoughts and behaviour, as we already know Bridget from her adventures in her 30s and have prior affection for her. However, 50 year old Bridget, taken as an independent entity, can come off as incredibly privileged, immature and spoilt. She lives in a good part of London, has zero financial worries and hardly any responsibilities, she has enough money that she doesn't need to work, has a nanny and a cleaner, a group of supportive close friends, and children at a fee paying school. For many (most) of us in terms of finances, she's living the dream- yet remains, as ever, "mad about the boy".

Overall, despite the book and Bridget's faults, my enjoyment of the book came down to the nostalgic pleasure of spending time with an old friend, and one who makes you laugh, at that. I think this book would make a good gift for those who were fans of Bridget's previous diaries.

Rating: 3/5. Buy the book: Paperback / Kindle. Follow me: Goodreads / Twitter / Bloglovin


2 comments:

  1. Saw this book when I was at the airport a few weeks ago and thought about buying it but passed. I never read the first books (only saw the movies) so I'm not sure if I'd connect with it as well. Seeing as you've read the first ones and still only gave it a 3/5 I'm thinking I made the right decision in not getting it. Thanks for the insight. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment- I'm a big fan of your blog!
      I think I'd definitely start at the first book if you're a fan of the movies, and leave this one 'till last.

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