Bridget Jones’ latest outing at the ripe young age of 51 may not have wowed the critics but holds its appeal for her fans, leaping to the numero uno position in UK book sales.
The first time I discovered a Bridget Jones book, I felt stalked. She had my life down pat. Even though I lived in Mumbai not London I spent an inordinate amount of time changing clothes, getting drunk, obsessing about all the men who didn’t like me, dissecting every minute detail of my schizophrenic love life with my “besties” and constantly worrying about my weight. I ate through the heartbreaks made by Cleaver clones and never found Mark Darcy. The best thing about its author Helen Fielding was her brand of honesty, she told it like it was and never mind the rib crunching corsets. She was fun, non-apologetic and when the Jones’ movies came out, us “big girls” stopped getting associated with pumpkins and other rotund v&g and gained a bit of “Zellweger status.” Bridget Jones made fat, “look cool and sweet.” She also gave us the hope of a “Darcy” !
Fielding’s latest book, Mad about The Boy has opened to middling reviews but has been one of the industry’s high profile Super Thursday launches. It has sold more than 46,000 copies in just one day across hardback, e-book and audiobook formats. The book may not have impressed the critics because it is written in the same vein as the previous BJ books but that’s precisely why it will delight true fans. Fielding tells us a truth we all know in our hearts: Our skin might need botox and our nemesis’ may have changed (from dragon boss to the “supermom” of our kid’s school) but in our heads, we haven’t grown old. 51 is not that different from 31.
Bridget is still bumbling along – wearing her mummy panties, getting hit on by Cleaver, trying to raise two maddening children, getting depressed about not having enough followers on Twitter, obsessing about her toy-boys and “leatherjacketman” – but in her head she continues to deal with people in that same mad way we love so much. For me that was the “kaboom” moment, the essential truth. Fielding shows us that though we may trade in our gym shoes for yoga mats, drink wine instead of “voddies”, prefer making virtual friends rather than meeting new people in real time, the essence of who we are stands permanent. The friends we make in our thirties are normally the ones we grow old with. Our babies don’t make us wiser, they just make us non apologetic about our waist-lines. This book is a lovely holiday read, so get a bar of your favourite chocolate or cheese, pour yourself some nice wine and just lounge about with Mad about The Boy. You won’t regret it!