First: Yes, I’m still Malazan-blogging (Malazanning?), but the world decided to pick this week (with Bryant off on a business trip, of course) to have everything in my apartment building break at once. So I’ve had to hang out waiting for an array of my landlady’s relatives to come in and prod at things. It’s been a rotten week.
So I hunkered down on the couch this morning to read the new Bridget Jones novel, not expecting much. At all. I loved Bridget Jones the first. I really did. She was hilarious and blowzy and foolish and made me feel better about just being fat and depressed. I loved that book. The second was was all sorts of stupid. I didn’t even know Helen Fielding had written a third book until I was casting about on iTunes for something to read, and then whoa!
But here’s the thing. The third book is called Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. My mind reeled. What boy? She spent the last two books finally getting together with a man who Colin Firth played in the movie. I mean, seriously. She won already. Mad about what boy?
Actually, this isn’t much of a spoiler, since it’s mentioned everywhere, but the book begins with Bridget’s beloved, calm, chivalrous Mark Darcy five years dead, and Bridget fat and ridiculous and wishing so badly that she had help with her two children and someone in her bed. The four-month, forty-pound weight loss that took up the first bit of the book pissed me off, of course, but the rest of it…the thing is, all the Bridget Jones books are fairy tales. Girly, foolish fairy tales about how awesome, strong, disciplined, amazing men are going to fall for our goofy, unorganized, over-indulging, not-stunning lady selves. Because we’re quirky. Oh jeez, I just invented “Manic Pixie Dream Self.”
But that said, Bridget really is an endearing sort of character. Foolish and ridiculous, yes. But oh my gosh did Fielding get the grief right. People tell her to move on. People keep encouraging her to paper over the cracks, to have meaningless sex, to float on the surface of her life until it’s suddenly fun again. And Bridget isn’t a floater. She’s a diver, straight into the stickiest emotional morass available. I would hate to be her. She’s appalling. But I adore the sense of risk and emotion that the character embodies for me. She just tries and tries and messes up and tries.
Of course she ends up with a man at the end, one of the teachers where her children go to school. He’s a lot like her Mark, in that he’s a little bruised, a little vulnerable, but a take-charge guy who can whip Bridget’s crazy life into shape and at the same time benefit from her joie de vivre. The denouement made me swoon a little, as the best romance novels do.
I don’t want Fielding to write a fourth book. I hope Bridget gets this ending; it’s a good one.