Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review - Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Published by: Knopf
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

Bridget Jones's life might just be getting a little better. Things have been hard since her husband Mark Darcy died. Being left a single parent was something she never thought she'd be faced with. Her kids have no father and she has lost the love of her life. Yet after a few years of just trying to do her best she realizes that perhaps her friends are right, perhaps she needs to get back out in the dating world. Thanks to modern technology, aka Twitter, she soon as a young boy toy, Roxster, who is just about to turn thirty and loves Bridget's "experience." She's back in the game and the envy of her friends. But can someone so much younger then her be willing to be with her as she gets older? Or is the delectable Mr. Wallaker, her son's PE teacher, a better option? Whatever happens, it could only happen to Bridget.

When the initial reviews started pouring in I was more then my fair share of nervous. Bridget had been off the scene for years, and while Helen Fielding may have started this subgenre, she has some stiff competition these days. Thankfully all my doubts were cast aside and Helen Fielding threw down the gauntlet and showed me that not only has she still got it, but there's a reason all other authors want to emulate and be her. She is the queen of Chick Lit, long may she reign! She has obviously grown and matured as an author, her dialogue is wittier, if sometimes a bit crasser, but priceless when the children speak, her situations more humorous, I now rate everything in my life by the standard of, if I haven't eaten a page of grated cheese for a meal, my life is good, and she made a book that switched up Bridget's life but evolved her while still being the same girl we loved. Though I won't forgive Helen Fielding for all the head lice in this book, my scalp is still itching!

Now to tackle the elephant in the room. The spoiler that broke and had fangirls weeping and angrily taking to twitter. Mark Darcy is dead. When I heard this I was willing to hold my comments till I had actually read the book. I remember years back when the second Bridget Jones movie came out, yes, the atrocious one that makes me cringe to even think about it, and they asked Colin Firth about the possibility of a third movie. His comment was perhaps the germ that planted Darcy's death in Helen Fielding's mind. He said that "really puncturing the fairy tale completely might be a way to take it." Not having things work out, not having a happily ever after per se for Bridget and Mark is how Colin saw success for the franchise, and you know what? He was right. Bridget and Mark as a couple would have been a book that wasn't true to Bridget. He was her rock, her center, her everything. Bridget was a different person with Mark. But take Mark away... and we have the Bridget we've always known and loved. A little sadder, a little older, but still Bridget. This could not have been possible without Mark's death. Darcy had to die.

Though the death of Darcy has led to one issue I do have with the book. Everyone in Bridget's life feels so bad for her because of Mark's death that they've kind of let her slide as a parent. Bridget really is an atrocious mother. Me judging her is, I know, a bit hypocritical, because a) I don't have kids and b) all parents are just making it up as they go along, like everyone with their own life, only parents have more lives to manage. Oddly enough the humor factor and the joy I got out of this took the sting out of her bad parenting, I'm just glad that she isn't my mother or like any of my friends who are mothers.

I think that is why the ultimate love interest works, because Mr. Wallaker constructively helps and knows, because of his own suffering, that Bridget can get through this. As for the happily ever after, while I still find it a little odd that the HEA was pulled off at the last minute, much like the first book, and they haven't spent much time together, much like the first book, and they are in love out of nowhere and it's Christmas and it's the end, much like the first book... it all works out. I really hope that this is Bridget Jones's final happily ever after. It ended well, it ended right, and I don't really want to see Bridget Jones the geriatric years... though if this book has taught me anything it's not to doubt Helen Fielding. Though if they do make this into a movie, don't cast Daniel Craig as Mr. Wallaker... that just seemed like too much wishful thinking that was placed in the book specifically for when it hits the big screen... because obviously Bond can replace Darcy... not in my book. Get someone like Philip Glenister, that would make my day. Sigh.


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