Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: "Mad About The Boy" by Helen Fielding

"Mad About The Boy" by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones #3
First published in 2013
384 pages
My rating 4.5 out of 5
(image source)

Friday January 17 2014
150lbs, alcohol units consumed 0 (so far), British words learned 5, times laughed out loud 26 (v.g), times laughed out loud about bodily fluids 7+, entire bags of grated cheese eaten 0

It's a rare pleasure when a book I thought would just be a fine, ok, nothing-amazing read turns out to be better than expected.

"Mad About The Boy" was hilarious. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so many times reading a book -- one of the early Stephanie Plum novels, maybe? Sure, some of the jokes involved things like vomit, diarrhea and farts, proving that I have the sense of humor of an 8-year-old boy, but they still made me laugh. And that's a good thing, no matter how it's achieved.

Behind all the humor about sex, head lice, online dating and comfort-eating entire bags of grated cheese, the book does actually have some more serious themes. After several years of wedded bliss and two babies with Mark Darcy, Bridget suddenly and tragically becomes a widow and is plunged into single-motherhood. "Mad About The Boy" opens five years after Mark's death, and Bridget's friends are urging her to climb out of her black hole of grief, and to start taking care of herself and dating again. This involves an unnecessary trip to an obesity clinic, a Botox disaster and drunk posts on Twitter, but we also watch Bridget try to cope with her guilt about moving on with her life after Mark.

A younger co-worker coincidentally read "Mad About The Boy" at the same time as me, and she mentioned that she sometimes had a hard time relating to Bridget. I actually noted while reading the book that I never seem to meet up with Bridget Jones at the right time in my life. In the first two books, Bridget's in her 30s and constantly being reminded by her family and "smug-married" friends about her lack of boyfriend. I read those novels back in high school, and though I found them interesting and humorous I'd undoubtedly have more of a connection to Bridget now at age 28. And in "Mad About The Boy," Bridget not only has two (adorable) young children (4 and 6) but is 51 and coping with middle age. I did, however, find that I thoroughly enjoyed all the anecdotes about Bridget's daily parenting woes. Perhaps that's because so many of my friends have babies now -- and because Bridget is the sort of wonderful but somewhat hilariously bumbling mother I would probably be.

"Mad About The Boy" can stand on its own no problem, but I think it would be beneficial to check out the original "Bridget Jones's Diary" (book or movie) before reading if you haven't already. It would be helpful for readers to know Bridget's background story, particularly with Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver.

Favorite quotes (of many):
"Have got onto Twitter site but do not understand. Is just incomprehensible streams of gibberish half-conversations with @this and @that. How is anybody supposed to know what is going on?"
(Still setting up Twitter account) "Cannot figure out how to put up photo. Is just empty egg-shaped graphic. Is fine! Can be photo of self before was conceived."
"Call me old-fashioned, but I did read in Glamour that one's shorts should always be longer than one's vagina."
"We've been texting for weeks. Surely it's rather like in Jane Austen's Day when they did letter-writing for months and months and then just, like, immediately got married?"

"Bridget. Sleeping with a twenty-nine-year-old off Twitter on the second date is not 'rather like in Jane Austen's day.'"


  1. I just finished this book 2 days ago! I put off reading it because I was so disgruntled that Mark was dead, but I can see why the author chose that route. Bridget, happy and well-taken care of just isn't as fun as Bridget, bumbling through romantic liaisons. And is it just me, or do you go around narrating things in Bridget's voice after reading one of her books?
    Comments left today: 1 v.g.
    Comments attempted to leave today: 3 must learn to navigate comment form on mobile device in manner of real blogger!

    1. I love your comment, Jessie! As you can see from the beginning of my post, I DO think in Bridget format after reading the books. I hope they this book is turned into a movie like the others -- I think it would be hilarious!


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