Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Borrowed the unabridged audiobook from my local library system
I remember all the hype when people first started talking about this book. Mark Darcy was dead and somehow Daniel Cleaver was still in her life. I went into this book prepared to be so disappointed and to be hating on Fielding every step of the way.
When we begin the story, Mark has been dead for a few years. Bridget is raising their two children on her own. The reader gets to mourn the loss with her, like Fielding had enough respect for her readers to give them the opportunity to understand what happened and deal with it. The first two books were Bridget single and trying to have a romantic life, while everyone around her was convinced that she was going about it all wrong. Fielding gives us a glimpse of the perfect happiness Bridget had with the love of her (and our) life. But, that's not what these books are about and if she had split them up with some kind of acrimonious divorce, that would have been infuriating. Instead, being the amazing human rights attorney that he was, he died in Darfur, when a truck he was in hit an IED. He died a noble death, protecting people and he was to the very last just the perfect guy we all wanted him to be.
Daniel Cleaver is the same cray guy he always was, but when the Darcy children (Billy and Mabel) were born, he and Mark cleared the air, made amends and Cleaver became the children's godfather. He's still a mess, but he loves the children, will always make room for them in his life, even if he's doing it with a supermodel over for the weekend.
Despite all the anger I thought I would feel and all the anger plenty of people are spewing on goodreads, I really enjoyed the book. It felt right that Bridget should be single and trying to make things in her life work. This Bridget stays true to the one I knew and loved and I'm very grateful for that. Fielding definitely knew what she was doing in bringing us a middle aged Bridget facing all the same problems and prejudices that she did in her 20s and 30s, with the new pressures of being a widow and raising two small children and going back out into the dating world with all of its technology and craziness.
If you've enjoyed Bridget Jones in the past, you will definitely like her here. And, I loved the way Fielding reminisced about Mark Darcy, filling in the gaps for the readers and letting us mourn with Bridget. I also loved how much his children were living testaments to just how wonderful their father was.