Bridget Jones's Diary was clever and original when it came out in 1996, and I loved it. I also liked the 2001 movie version starring Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth. Somewhat less interesting was the sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. That book broke no new ground and as far as I could tell only served to wrap up the romance.
But now it's 2013 and we have Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Bridget is 51! Mark Darcy has departed this earth in a blaze of glory, leaving Bridget a widow with two school-aged children and all her neuroses intact.
It's the same Bridget, only not; she's sadder, and her love for her children gives her an emotional weight that was missing in the earlier books. She still records the same things in her diary (pounds gained and lost, her alcohol consumption, who her friends are sleeping with), but she also writes about her pain at losing Mark, her attempts at being a worthy mother and, with great humor, her struggles to get back in the dating game. Funniest of all are Bridget's encounters with 21st century technology, especially Twitter, as she attempts to tweet her way into a new life.Helen Fielding is a funny writer, but what I like best about these books is that they aren't just funny in a narrative or plot-driven sense. Fielding has created a main character (or alter ego) who has a great sense of humor. Bridget's observations in her diary are funny; Bridget's tweets are funny; and it's her humor online that attracts the titular 'boy" to her in the first place. I can't think of a lot of fictional heroines who possess this characteristic, and it feels as fresh in this book as it did back in 1996. So good to have Bridget back -- I missed her!
Becky Holmes blogs about books at A Book A Week.