Finally reading a much anticipated sequel is like putting on your favorite sweater on the first chilly day of fall. It’s cozy and comfortable, it brings back fond memories but it’s ready to make new ones too. That’s how I felt finally cracking open Mad About the Boy! This sweater didn’t fit quite like I remembered it, but once I broke it in, stretched it out and loosened it up and little, it felt good again!
Book # 7 Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding
Synopsis: If you didn’t fall in love with Bridget from her previous diaries (or the film versions), you can stop reading now. If you fell in love with the quirky, flighty, not-quite-together girl who just wanted to be loved for who she is, please keep reading and buy this book ASAP (before more spoilers get leaked!). It’s now nearly 20 years later and Bridget is a mum. She is still keeping track of weight, calories, alcohol units and cock-ups. She has married Mark Darcy and given birth to Billy and Mabel, who are school aged. SMALL SPOILER ALERT: Part of Bridget’s current struggles are about being a single mother after being widowed 4 years ago. (I realize this sounds major, but you learn this pretty early on, and if you’ve heard anything at all about the book, it’s probably this). Bridget decides she is ready to start dating again and with the help of some old familiar friends, Tom and Jude (sadly no f-ing Shazer), she learns how to put herself out there again. Of course their advice is wise as ever (this is where sarcasm needs it’s own punctuation). And perhaps the best part of Bridget’s modern antics is the advent of social media. Bridget becomes obsessed with Twitter and meets Roxter, a 29 year-old too-good-to-be true “toy boy” who welcomes Bridget to Cougartown. Bridget and Roxter engage in flirtatious tweeting and texting that leads to dating and well, you know… So Bridget is trying to juggle her kids, her new relationship, a budding career as a screen writer and her crazy mother, all in traditional Bridget Jones style; messy! Billy even writes a paper for school about how strange he finds his Mum, embarrassing her in front of the hot new teacher that all the moms are crushing on, Mr Wallaker. In fact Mr Wallaker seems to show up just in time for all of Bridget’s most embarrassing moments around town- condom buying, unsuccessful tree-climbing, and see-through clothing. She can pretty much count on a judgy look or a snarky comment each time he pops up… Sound like someone we know?
My Impressions: It took me a few chapters to warm up to the book. First I had to get used to the diary entry set up again and acclimate to Bridget’s succinct, notation-style narrative. Then I had to get over the loss of Mr Darcy. (Long pause required!) I mean, really, after all they have been through. After the blue food and the scary large undies and the reindeer jumpers and verbal diarrhea. After Daniel Cleaver. Bridget finally gets her happily-ever-after, and it turns out to be temporary. And heartbreaking. And damn it, probably the most real life thing that would happen to someone like Bridget, so okay, I get it. You, as the reader get plenty of chances to grieve with her, so I forgive Ms Fielding for not giving me the fairy tale I would prefer from my “chick lit” and providing instead a more true-to-life diary. Then there’s the children. The very down to business Billy, and the ever anxious Mabel. They are a great grounding for Bridget, even if they can’t always manage to pull her head out of the clouds.
This is basically a story about Bridget reinventing herself after she becomes a widow. She is trying hard to be a better, more present mother, she is trying to jump-start a career as a screen writer. She is putting herself back out in the dating world and once again choosing wildly inappropriate men! But she still the same Bridget that we love! A bit of a mess, a little nuts, and just looking for her slice of happiness in the world.
Why you should read it: Well first of all this is just some feel good chick-lit! A rom-com worthy, “we met on Twitter”, warm fuzzy love story. If you loved Bridget from her first two books (or the movies) then go! Get your favorite sweater out of storage and curl up for a cozy read!
Book # 7 in the bag!
“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” ― Henry David Thoreau