This October, the grande dame of chick lit is returning with her beloved, beleaguered and bewildered creation , Bridget Jones, but is it too late or too different a world for Fielding and Miss Jones? I fell under the spell of Bridget, Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver, as well as the myriad of other characters Helen Fielding created when her first book was released in 1996. I still admit to playing “Shag, Marry or Throw off a Cliff ” with friends on long car trips and always enjoy watching the film adaption (what’s not to enjoy about Colin Firth?). The book itself also retains it’s appeal. While technology has changed, Bridget Jones’ Diary, which is heavily inspired by Pride and Prejudice, is still the simple story of an unconventional woman looking for love (Bridget being a modern Lizzie Bennett) and having to chose between the bad boy, Daniel Cleaver (standing in for Mr. Wickham) and rich, handsome Mark Darcy (being his name sake). The book was a sensation and gave voice to many young women as well as adding such phrases as, “singleton”, and “smug married”, to the language.
When Bridget’s second adventure, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” was released three years later, much of the charm and sweetness had been lost. A cascade of other writers had filled the market with Chic lit, Mom lit, Baby lit, Lad lit and their variants, so Bridget’s bumbling and emotional angst were more irritating than endearing. The plot was also absurd, so the road blocks standing between her and Mark felt forced. We won’t mention the movie.
Oddly though, I am actually looking forward to seeing Bridget again, and seeing how she is coping with the current world of social media, celebrity-saturated culture and aging . A press release from Miss Fielding states: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy represents a totally new phase in Bridget’s life: “Bridget’s life has moved on.” She also released this excerpt:
You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30 p.m. to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or Exocet missile.