After many years of waiting, chick-lit fans can finally find out what happened next to Bridget Jones, everyone’s favourite clumsy, self-deprecating and often very funny diarist. Helen Fielding has brought us Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, and many readers will be clambering to find out what exactly has changed since Bridget’s last outing in 2000’s The Edge of Reason. Sadly, Bridget is now older, but not exactly wiser, making for an overall unsatisfying and repetitive feel to this highly anticipated sequel.
Some things have certainly changed; namely the controversial killing off of the much-beloved Mark Darcy, news that shocked fans in the lead-up to this book’s release. Bridget is now a widow and a single mother approaching middle age with the complete lack of grace that we’d expect from her, complete with toy-boy and a social media obsession. As ever, Bridget is on a mission of self-improvement, but with the character so many years on from the earlier books, you almost wish she would have matured slightly from the confused almost-thirty-something we knew so well. The calorie counts, incessant tweeting and drunk texts to younger men seem more self-absorbed than endearing and humorous, suggesting a woman who’s more interested in pursuing popularity and going on dates than on anything more interesting. By book 3, and 2013, it all feels a little been-there-done-that. Its not that Bridget Jones needs to be some kind of feminist icon; she never was and it was never expected that she would somehow evolve into one, but a little character development wouldn’t have gone amiss. Readers will no doubt swarm to pick up their copy of Mad About the Boy regardless, and perhaps many will be glad to find Bridget so unchanged. The light humour and slapstick misadventures are all still there, but this sequel feels like an opportunity missed.