WARNING: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
I’ve never been much of a mainstream chick-book kinda girl, but for whatever reason, I was obsessed with Bridget Jones in college. Partially with the book, majorly with the film. At first, it was about a dippy woman who could stand to get away from her judgmental (and batty) mum, fashion magazines, and her philandering boss. Unlike so many stories about women, though, Bridget turned around and started kicking ass (arse) and taking names. Then this happened:
SWOON. Not because he’s Colin Firth. Because he tells her that she doesn’t have to be a goddamn Stepford wife to be loved.
When Edge of Reason came out and there was all this dramz between Bridget and Mark, it kind of completely lost me. I was happy enough, though, when they ended up together in the end (because DUH, it’s fiction, and not the kind of fiction where the ending is basically “hey, sometimes life is shitty, and then you deal with it or you drink yourself to death”). While I found Edge of Reason mildly annoying, I never denounced it outright. It felt forced and manufactured, but whatever.
I think the new Bridget Jones slated to come out, Mad About the Boy, is going to be fucking bullshit, though.
Apparently a huge plot point in the new book was purposely spoiled when a bit of the book was serialized in The Sunday Times. If you don’t want to know what it is, STOP READING NOW.
REALLY, RIGHT NOW. G’WAY.
HELEN FIELDING KILLED OFF MARK DARCY. HE’S FUCKING DEAD.
In the new book, Bridg is 51, a widow, and a mother of two small children (when did she have these children if they’re small and she’s 51? O_O). She’s got a boyfriend called Roxster (I’M NOT SHITTING YOU) and apparently, Daniel Cleaver pops up to babysit every now and then, while making passes at the kids’ mum. According to The Bookseller, “The extract also shows Jones’ new concerns, stressing over the school run and politics at the school gates, and determined to ‘meditate regularly, and lose weight’. She is also keen to start using social media, and stop hiding wine bottles.” ALSO MARK DARCY IS FUCKING DEAD.
There’s so much wrong with this. Firstly, did Bridget not grow up AT ALL between the first book and this one? Did she gain no confidence that she doesn’t need to be Twiggy to be a good mom and citizen of earth? Does she not have any other concerns with life? Like, I dunno, HER KIDS? See, I think Bridget would. I think marriage and motherhood would bring her down to earth a tad. She’s already demonstrated that she can make amazing decisions for herself; she told the dreamy Daniel Cleaver to piss off, for example, and quit her job as his underling in a rather spectacular way. She could have taken him back, and he would have done the same shit all over again–and a lot of people might have. SHE DID NOT. Bridget isn’t a dippy doormat. So, I really can’t see her at 51 never having gotten comfortable enough with herself that she’s still hiding wine bottles and journaling about her weight.
There’s even the title: Mad About the Boy. If you read the description of the book on Amazon, you’ll see that it’s the same old Bridg . . . “What do you do when your girlfriend’s sixtieth birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s thirtieth? Is it better to die of Botox or die of loneliness because you’re so wrinkly? Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating?” (Slams head into desk.) Why is 51-year-old Bridget dating a “boy”? If she were as vain and shallow as the book description makes her out to be, she would have gone for Daniel Cleaver in the first place. I don’t really want to see her go through the whole “being single and needing a man” plot again, either. We saw that. That was Bridget Jones’s Diary.
I also don’t see Daniel Cleaver being the “naughty godfather.” I don’t think Mark Darcy would ever have allowed Cleaver near his kids, and also, he’s pathetic, but not that pathetic.
But let’s address this Mark Darcy being dead fucking dogshit plot twist. Cathy Rentzenbrink from The Bookseller thinks it makes sense for Bridg to be a widow:
She can’t be happily married, happy marriage doesn’t work in fiction because it doesn’t sustain a narrative drive. I’m not interested in reading about Bridget and Mark Darcy arguing over whose responsibility it is to get the car MOT’d or working out that the dishwasher isn’t broken, they just need to put some Rinse Aid in it… And unhappily married? Do we want an adulterous Bridget? Or a Bridget who self-medicates with chocolate and gin while Mark Darcy is off philandering with someone with whom he doesn’t have to discuss MOTs or dishwashers?
I’m . . . I’m sorry, has Ms. Rentzenbrink never BEEN in a marriage? I have a pretty good marriage, but it’s not all Rinse Aid and whatever the fuck MOTs are. We get pissed off. We fight. (Yeah, sometimes it’s about car stuff . . . but there are NUANCES to those fights, dammit. Sometimes a fight about cars is really a fight about trust. DROPPED SOME SUBTEXT ON DAT ASS, YEAAAAHHHHH.) We have differences. We change. Our marriage today doesn’t look like our marriage four years ago; our marriage in four years will look different than it does today. We’re also still growing as individuals, and it’s hard sometimes to reconcile that with being in a relationship, even if it’s a good relationship. No narrative arc, my ass.
I feel cheated because we missed out on her marriage with Mark Darcy. We missed out on them having kids. We missed out on Bridget trying to reconcile her deeply-felt singleton-ism with her new-found role as a wife. We missed out on Mark perhaps seeing at moments that he might have bitten off more than he could chew with Bridget. We missed out on loving moments and fighting moments and every-damn-thing. IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE FOR HER TO BE WIDOWED FOR NARRATIVE UNLESS THE WRITER IS A LAZY-ASS WHO CAN’T WRITE A REAL RELATIONSHIP. And if Fielding actually did kill off Mark Darcy for similar reasons?
So, yeah. I’m pretty sure this new book is going to be bullshit. Full disclosure: I didn’t read the excerpt. I didn’t want to give myself a friggin’ aneurysm; on the downside, I could be totally full of shit about this. But I feel like it’s gonna be bullshit.
What do you think? Did you read the excerpt? Does it sound like bullshit or do you think it’s gonna be good? Do you, like I do, feel like Bridget Jones is kind of totally 90′s and should probably stay there? COMMENTS! I want to know!