11.15 p.m. Look, stoppit. For, as it says on the Dalai Lama’s Twitter: <@Dalai Lama We cannot avoid pain, we cannot avoid loss. Contentment comes from the ease and flexibility with which we move though change.>
Maybe will go to yoga and become more flexible.
Or maybe will go out with friends and get plastered.
(from Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, page 71)
Quick summary: Bridget Jones is back in all her embarrassing, hilarious, and endearing glory. A single mother with two children, Bridget re-enters the dating scene, which has dramatically changed. Soon, she is taking on the world of Twitter, writing a screenplay of a modern-day Hedda Gabler, and boasting a much younger boytoy. She’s not sure she can handle this life alone…and she’s not the only one who thinks she could use some help.
Why I wanted to read it: I loved Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and I wanted to see what Bridget had been up to since then.
What I liked: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is a pure comfort read, like curling up with a cup of tea and pouring out your heart with an old, familiar friend. Bridget is the same as ever — still fumbling her way through life, still meaning well but mucking it all up, still making a fool of herself, and still making us laugh. But she’s changed, too, and she really does try to put on a brave face for her children and do right by them.
Helen Fielding manages to work in some seriousness with all the humor, making sure we remember that Bridget is struggling through grief. Without that steadying force in her life, Bridget was bound to come undone, and those were the most real parts of the novel. I also loved that Bridget learns to embrace her 50-something self and feel sexy, even while being clumsy and out of sorts. There’s also a hint of Pride and Prejudice, with the whole bad-first-impression thing going on.
What I disliked: The absence of Mark Darcy was something I knew about before I read the book, and while it allowed Fielding to explore the challenges of dating in the Internet era, single parenthood, and embracing who you are at any age, it was still difficult for me to get over.
Final thoughts: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was a satisfying continuation to the series. It wasn’t without its flaws, but I was able to overlook them and just enjoy it for what it was — a lighthearted beach read. (I did indeed indulge in this novel when I was in Ocean City, Maryland, in July.) It was nice to catch up with Bridget, and I was pleased with how this chapter in her life wrapped up. I hope Fielding will revisit Bridget and her gang — from her mother and Daniel Cleaver to the characters introduced here for the first time — again in the future.
Disclosure: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is from my personal library.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.