Published by Knopf Canada
Publication date: October 15th 2013
After an absence of 14 years Bridget Jones is back in Helen Fielding’s newest novel, Mad About the Boy. The novel is set in present day meaning that while the whole gang is back, they’ve all got steady jobs now and are discussing Botox and fillers to fight off aging. Yes, the flighty and funny Bridget Jones is now entering her fifties and, hold on to your hat, she has children. Two adorable little moppets (one complete with a lisp) who might be expected to create even more mayhem in her world. One would be wrong because no one can out-mayhem Bridget. She has aged chronologically but not emotionally, creating an odd disconnect. She’s spacy, and silly with little or no self-control but now she has two children. Their father? Not going to say, but if you want a spoiler there are plenty of reviews out there that will give you the details. Her situation as a single mother is one of the few concessions Fielding makes to growing-up and to the fact that life is not a fairy tale.
Mad About the Boy works as a fun, chick-lit novel but it’s a bit disappointing that at fifty-one Bridget is no different than she was in her late thirties. The novel is written in the catchy journal style of the other two Bridget Jones’ books and she still begins with her weight and how much she’s had to drink but now she is also counting twitter followers and how many texts she’s gotten. Yes, she’s dealing with the issues of middle-age (greying hair, slowing metabolism, trying to find appropriate men to date) and she’s doing so with new technologies—Nicorette patches to stop smoking and tweeting as a way to flirt (with all the hilarity of drunk tweeting) but she deals with them in the same way she always has. This makes the novel predictable, in that a responsible man, slightly disapproving of her, will come in and make everything all right. For a romantic comedy, this formula still works and Fielding still writes with humor and panache, it just comes without surprises.