Sunday, 27 October 2013

Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding

Sunday 27th October.
Books finished: 1, Weight: not telling! Alcohol units: too many, Calories: not counted, Family lunches at new Italian restaurant in up-and-coming Finsbury Park: 1, Puddings: 1.5 (one own, half of the Englishman’s shared), Words written on novel:0.

Yes, it’s addictive, this diary writing thing, as Helen Fielding has found out, since she has now written no less than three books featuring the overweight (in her mind!), alcoholic (yes, that in her mind too), boyfriendless Bridget Jones.

The third book in the saga of Bridge Jones' life doesn't disappoint, yet it doesn't shine in its unique brilliance either. Like all the books, it basically charts a year in an affluent woman's life. Because, at the root of it, Bridget is just a well-to-do Londoner with very middle-class woes.

Yet, the life of Bridget Jones, at the age of 50+, is (again) irresistibly imperfect.  Ms Jones, now tragically widowed (this plot twist was all over the media pre-publication, but if you haven't heard: Mr Darcy has been killed off) is sex-starved, ‘born-again virgin’ and a particularly disorganised single mother, who’s been constantly thrown in a bad light against the more confident and ambitious mothers (crucially with husbands in tow) at her children’s school. The lack of Bridget’s motherly ambition and skills, as well as a dangerous aptitude for everyday catastrophes like setting fire to the kitchen while attempting to cook, takes up large part of the book, as does the escapades of the other mothers (one is called Nicolette who Bridget naturally dubs Nicorette). The other half of the book is devoted to sex – or the lack of it, and to sometimes quite explicit descriptions of the said act.

While reading Mad About The Boy, I kept seeing it in my mind’s eye as the film this book is surely going to be turned into. And I was enjoying what I saw. It’ll be lovely London based Rom Com with good dialogue and lots of laughs. The film, like the novel, will not win any prizes for artistic merit, but I bet you anything they will both be successes at the bookshop tills and the box offices around the world.

Mad About The Boy is very modern bit of escapism with some quite funny bits and some very sweet bits and a corny life lesson at the end. But I enjoyed it, although I’m not sure this will do my Nordic writer’s street-cred much good. Oh well, who cares?

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