Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

In brief: Bridget Jones is BACK! She’s older, with a recent sad vent, but she’s still Bridget.

The good: Reuniting with the old characters.

The not-so-good: Bridget got old, which means so did I!

Why I chose it: Adored the first two Bridget Jones books.

Year: 2013

Pages: 350 (eBook)

Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Setting: London, England

My rating: 9.5 out of 10

I adored the reading the first two Bridget Jones novels in my late teens – so much so that I hunted down the second book in a country bookstore on a cross Australia road trip and read them both multiple times. Naturally I was excited when I read that there would be a third book released. How would Bridget deal with Twitter, Facebook, sexting and online shopping?

One thing I did not consider (rather stupidly) is that Bridget would be older…like old, old! She’s 51 in this book with two young children. So if Bridget got old, I must have too…weirdly enough for part of the book I was considering that time was marching on for both of us!

There’s been much made online and in print media about the Big Spoiler that occurs in this book. I think the majority of people have found out either intentionally or accidently (Twitter, you should have a ‘hide spoiler’ function) but to describe some of Bridget’s new century problems, I’m going to have explain where she’s at. So perhaps skip to the end if you don’t want to know the details…

I loved that one of the titles of the early chapters referred to a word that Bridget muttered a lot in the books and movies (usually in relation to Daniel Cleaver) – it was like coming home. Everything was familiar, then…bam? What happened to Mark? We learn early on that he’s no longer around and Bridget is the single mother of two children (a ‘geriatric mother’ as she’s told later). It’s not easy being mum, dad, chef and cleaner to two children. Bridget still does things like set waffles on fire and manages to muck up names on email. She’s lonely.

Enter her friends – Tom and Jude (Sharon has moved to Silicon Valley unfortunately) and Talitha. They’re out to help Bridget get back into the dating scene. Daniel Cleaver (an unlikely godfather) babysits Mabel and Billy while Bridget tries to find a man. But like most modern romances, she finds it online (through Twitter no less). Roxster is nearly 30…is this Bridget’s ticket to youth and freedom? Or does she need security and stability?

It’s interesting the way the book is told – modern day, then backwards to show how Bridget got to where she is and then modern day – even into the future slightly as it goes through to Christmas 2013. It worked for me, but I think it’s useful to know that you won’t have the feeling of being plunged into the middle for very long. All will be explained…

It was lovely meeting all the characters again; although this time I had a much firmer image in my head of the actors who played them in the movies. Daniel Cleaver seems to be made even more perfectly for Hugh Grant – I can just imagine him growling, ‘What are you wearing?’ to any number of women. Tom is just as anxious for Bridget’s happiness and Jude is fixated on a number of dating websites – oh, and revenge on Vile Richard. The new characters are just as entertaining and endearing in their own way. I feel Mr Wallaker may get his own following…

It seems that no matter her age, Bridget will still be getting into scrapes – this time with her children. There’s the unfortunate flashing of a G string at a teacher, chocolate on a white coat, flashing telling emails to a hall full of seniors and the Celebrity Nit Nurse. I found Bridget writing a screenplay a little out of character for me, but it fit the plot very well, as well as allowing for more humorous moments. There’s a serious side too as Bridget tries to soldier on for her children. The ending was quite definite, but I’m sure there’s room for more Bridget – especially if there’s a new social media platform for her to ‘twunk’!

Funny and deliciously readable, I highly recommend this to Bridget fans. New to Bridget? Start at the start and work your way to this one – otherwise you may not understand all the in-jokes and recurring characters.

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6 thoughts on “Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

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  1. Definitely an enjoyable read! I suspect the Major Spoiler was rather more devastating to me than to most (I was about 2/3 through reading it on the plane to visit my dad, only to land and learned he’d passed away); I still find myself tearing up when I re-read bits of it even if intellectually I know and accept her reasons for why the Major Spoiler happened.

    But the funny sections are so, so funny, and so very Bridget-y. I have missed her so. And I feel like those children are living, breathing kids; I adore them.

    One point of disagreement, though; I don’t think that writing a screenplay is out of character for Bridget; even if she was a terrible interviewer, her degree was in English Lit from Bangor U. Plus, they do praise her ‘genius’ voice. 🙂

    I hope for a ‘missing years’ book a la Adrian Mole, but won’t be holding my breath…

    (Thank you again for the nice comment on my silly little Mabel drawing, by the way! 🙂 )

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