When Helen Fielding first started her Bridget Jones’s column in the Independent in 1995, it unexpectedly went viral. Women followed it with passion as it chronicled the life of thirtysomething Bridget Jones as she struggles with the daily routines of thirtysomething single British women: weight loss, alcohol consumption, obsession with fashion magazines, flops in their careers and –of course- finding the right guy to sleep with. The column was later novelized and published in 2006, to top the best-selling book charts and sell over two million copies as of 2006. Now with news on upcoming book and shocking excerpts posted on author Helen Fielding’s Facebook page, one might say that Bridget’s book 3 (Mad About the Boy) is not going anywhere. In the excerpt Bridget sounds like her usual, emotionally wrecked, self-deprecating persona but with excess baggage. She is mother of two, almost postmenopausal (in her early fifties) and with a toy boy tagging along. Whoops, I almost forgot, Mr. Darcy, the guy who gave all thirtysomething British women wet dreams, is now dead! The internet went up in flames! Good publicity move, Miss Fielding, but one also assume from surveying the initial fan reaction that the snowball effect might not be in Bridget’s favor and that the stunt would turn out to be rather dumb and destructive.
Mr. Darcy is the epitome of every woman’s dream guy. He is handsome, clean cut, smart and a gentleman at heart. He is chased by his woman consistently –one might say, annoyingly- yet he falls for her in the end. Bridget is just your average thirtysomething woman. She’s no striking beauty or rebel, she suffers the same weight gain problems that most women go through and she is a nicotine addict with drinking problems and an air of clumsiness and very low self-esteem. What’s there to love about Bridget, really? In the real world, nothing, but in a Zen universe where Helen Fielding is a goddess and she gets to create her own humans and sets her own rules, Bridget is placed in a very awkward love triangle, has steamy sex with playboy Daniel Cleaver –also her boss- and wins the good guy in the end. Bridget may not seem anything at all but she is symbolized as the modern woman’s victory in a world full of letdowns and depressing facts.
Helen Fielding, however, is so fond of Bridget that she decides to liberate her from the one thing that makes her special: Mr. Darcy. In the shocking excerpt that she posted in the Sunday Times, Fielding revealed Jones’s current marital status (widowed), children (two, Mabel and Billy) and love life (toy boy, twenty years her junior). What an effing courageous choice of her to do that. Killing off Mr. Darcy, letting Bridget tread the postmenopausal woman’s road of thorns and allowing her to rekindle –or not- flames with former lover, Daniel Cleaver, is Helen’s way of reshaping her universe. Off goes the Darcy/Bridget romance, and there comes a time for single motherhood, being a cougar and facing the monstrosity of the modern-day dating scene. Tough place to be, Bridge! But still, with all the accusations and threats that female fans are giving Helen to boycott the book and the criticism on the book being a failing attempt to recapture the old Bridget Jones spirit: doesn’t this mean that what Helen did served its purpose? Most of the fans who complain about a certain book or movie before its release are the first ones to grab it, signed copies and all. A lot of people take the time to write lengthy reviews on books they loathed and movies they found pretty dumb, myself included. Just like the Miley Cyrus mania and the GTA V fever, things that cause great controversy are the ones that top the charts. Moneymaking is a game of wits and Bridget, even with all the melodrama, is not new to fame. But as we flip through the pages of “Bridget Jones’s Diary: Mad About the Boy” we will find out whether Mr. Darcy going to Heaven was a good publicity move or a dumb stunt.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy will be released on October 10th, 2013.
Written by: Jaylan Salah