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December 22, 2013 / ljbradburn-Smith

Bridget is back!

bridget

Bridget Jones is back! My silly, funny, slightly-alcoholic, more than slightly neurotic bosom-buddy, now with a bad case of Twitter Tourettes, and I couldn’t be more pleased! The moment I found out about the latest Bridget Jones novel, I knew I had to have one for my very own.

Even so, as I heard a little bit more about Mad About the Boy, I became, albeit only slightly, apprehensive about reading it, firstly because I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get over the shock of [HEARTBREAK ALERT] losing Mr Darcy and secondly because, for some reason, I was worried that it just wouldn’t be as good and I couldn’t bear not to love Bridget as much as I did in the other two novels. I think I may even have been a teeny-weeny, tincy bit annoyed at Helen Fielding personally for creating a dream man and then cruelly taking him away from me Bridget. When I last saw her she was snuggled in the arms of her true love, living happily ever after, and I didn’t have to worry about her being alone anymore and having to put up with Uncle Geoffrey pinching her bum and grilling her about her love life.

As always though, Fielding failed to disappoint me with her insightful and witty portrayal of an older but seemingly not much wiser Jones. How could I have ever doubted her?

Jones is now a fifty-something widower and an ‘older-than-average’ mother of two young children, as her own mother never fails to remind her. Mad About the Boy finds Bridget five years after the death of her beloved Mr Darcy, feeling somewhat overwhelmed, with the responsibilities of being a single parent, under the ever watchful eye of PE teacher Mr Wallaker and the constant battle to keep her grief and loneliness at bay. When her friends decide she is ready to venture back into the world of dating she finds it much changed since the days of waiting by the phone. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with already, she now has the world of texting and social networking at her fingertips, which, in Bridget’s opinion, can only mean more ways to be rejected.

But she had not been counting on the boy or, for that matter, on her ability to unwittingly charm pretty much everyone around her, despite feeling like she appears to epically fail in Mr Wallaker’s most people’s eyes. Roxster, almost-30 something and gorgeous  proves to Bridget that there is life after death as he sweeps her off her feet, through a series of hilariously naughty messages and even naughtier dates. A far cry from her lonely nights spent teetering on the edge of the void and having less (play)dates than her children Bridget’s life is suddenly full of eating out, staying in and working out how to get around wearing her reading glasses on dates with her toyboy. True to Fielding form, with a nod to the tv adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, there is even a water scene in which Roxster emerges, glistening and wonderfully ripped, from a pool.

That’s the thing about Helen Fielding, she is a master of creating characters who are incredibly lovable and warm but who don’t know it. As a reader you have no choice but to love everyone she creates, how can you not when she shows you the good in everyone? Her perfect characters are perfect because they are flawed, because they are true to life and because they are easy to relate to.

Life is messy and confusing but also wonderful and surprising and, as Bridget finds out, there is more than one way to have a happy ending.

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