Sunday, 17 May 2015

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding

I was a little dubious about a Bridge Jones sequel about her being aged 50 or so, and having finished the novel I'm still not quite convinced.

For one thing, we begin with a narrative voice that feels identical to Bridget in her 30s, and while her naivety and social ineptness were amusing and plausible in her younger incarnations in Bridget Jones' Diary and Bridge Jones: The Edge of Reason, her inexperience sits badly on a woman in her 50s. I found that I was too young to relate to some aspects of the story, and never having had children also meant that I'd only ever experienced the child-related parts as a child – not that that's an inherent criticism of the novel, just that I personally didn't get as much from it as I might have done.

I felt quite uncomfortable throughout with 20-year age gap between Bridget and her new boyfriend Roxter, and it seems to me very convenient (and frankly unrealistic) that she is now so rich she never needs to work except as a hobby.

On the plus side, Mad About the Boy had more depth and poignancy to it, as it showed the changes (some very sad) that had taken place in the lives of the characters in the 15 years that had passed since the last instalment. There are many genuinely funny moments to balance out the melancholy, and as well as a romantic comedy this is about a woman coming to terms with age and beginning to accept herself as she is.

So mixed impressions overall, but I did enjoy reading it for the most part, and by the end was thoroughly heart-warmed and cried a little bit.

Next up: Lamentation by C J Sansom

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