Bridget Jones, one of literature’s best-loved diarists, is back, with first day sales topping 46,000 despite mediocre reviews.
Mad About The Boy is the third book by Helen Fielding following the ditzy, calorie-counting Bridget, and this time she comes with two children and a toyboy in tow, as well as old faithful friends and the infamous Daniel Cleaver.
The book’s buzz began when The Sunday Times Magazine printed extracts last month that told readers that Mark Darcy, Bridget’s happily-ever-after of the last book, had been killed off. Although a controversial decision, this perhaps made a new Bridget book more exciting to write than a simple happy tale of newlyweds.
This plot point provides some of the only deep thoughts we see from Bridget, as she thinks of what might have been and how she seems to be trapped in a deep and lonely void without her wonderful husband. This can be repetitive, but it is less irritating than other sections where Fielding gets stuck in a rut and does not develop any significant thoughts.
“Then, the fatal thought ‘If only…’ invaded my head without warning. ‘If only…’ Darkness, memories, sorrow rearing up, engulfing me like a tsunami.”
Bridget’s new fixation with Twitter is the most grating thing about this instalment. From obsessing for pages over having zero followers to live-tweeting dates, this focus comes across as completely over the top. Fielding seems desperate to catch up with the advances in technology that have occurred since the last book, but she overcompensates.
The biggest problem with this book is its replication of what has come before. Bridget is single again, which is reminiscent of every time she was previously with neither Mark nor Daniel and was desperately alone. Her friends say exactly the same things about getting herself out there and she just seems to have moved on from ice cream to grated cheese as a guilty pleasure. The loss of Bridget attempting to muddle along in an actual career is felt as her screenplay project is rather unfunny in comparison.
However, there are still things to enjoy in Mad About The Boy. Bridget’s attractive descriptions of both Roxster and Mr Wallaker will entice any lady into rooting for them, and even though both romantic plots are extremely predictable, the reader can still enjoy the ride.
Equally, Bridget’s children Billy and Mabel are consistently adorable, and steal every scene they wander into with some fantastic one-liners and erratic mishaps. Daniel Cleaver is actually more deep and interesting than before, although he does not feature nearly enough, meaning wasted potential.
“Mabel had addressed hers ‘Daddy. Heaven Space’. In the midst of feeling guilty about everything else I felt guilty about traumatising the postman.”
As a light read that offers a return to previously loved characters on top of a fun, fluffy plot, Mad About The Boy does not go far wrong. You should know what to expect when you pick up a Bridget Jones book, and although this does not compete with Fielding’s first two offerings, it comes fairly close.