Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy,
by Helen Fielding (Random House, RRP $37)
I loved the Bridget that Helen Fielding created in her newspaper column in 1995 which was quickly novelised in 1996. And while I could’ve lived without reading the second book, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie adaption of the first novel. After getting over the casting of American actress Renee Zewelleger, I realised she epitomised Bridget, bringing the delightful yet loud character to life.
Helen Fielding returns to her beloved Bridget with Mad About the Boy. Bridget, now in her 50s, has two beautiful children, and is attempting to write a screenplay (hoping to star some glamorous Hollywood actress). She is, unfortunately, still the same, which to me is a bad thing. She is attempting to be a role moral to her children but continues to act like a teenager, accepting no responsibilities and refusing to obey common sense. This outlook on life was great for the first novel when our dear Bridget was still trying to find her way through life, but now, it’s just not that pleasurable to read.
Unlike the first two novels, I found the diary narrative irritating. Perhaps it is a reflection on how I’ve changed as a reader since 1996, but perhaps we as readers in general no longer accept the chick lit novel told in diary form, reminiscent of a pubescent women. I shall leave that to other readers to decide, but I didn’t like it.
There were moments, although very few of them, which were quite emotional, showing that underneath all the nonsense and childish behaviour, there was an adult Bridget. Sadly though, those shards of honesty instantly disappeared in the next paragraph.
Promotional material for Mad About the Boy revealed that Fielding changed something in Bridget’s world. In fact, if you haven’t been spoiled by a major point in Mad About The Boy, then you are either extremely lucky to go in not knowing, or unlucky because you will be shocked and perhaps angry or distracted for the rest of the book.
I was spoiled before going in and I’m happy I was. I was able to accept it, move on and develop an understanding of why Fielding did it. Without it, I don’t think Bridget would’ve been back. Although, for the sake of all Bridget Jones fans, I think it would’ve been better to leave readers with two novels, keeping our beloved characters where they were.