Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 30, 2013

When it comes to the new Bridget Jones,are you going to be Mad About the Boy or mad at the author?

One of the highlights of this literary season has been the anticipation for Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy,the third book in Helen Fielding's lively blend of modern day humor with a Jane Austen twist. Just the anticipation for what the full title would be was sheer book lover delight.

As many of you know,the first Bridget Jones book(Bridget Jones' Diary) was a phenomenal success with an equally engaging film adaptation that pulled off the hat trick of pleasing both audiences and critics alike. Major bonus points were awarded to the movie for casting Colin Firth as Mark Darcy,the inspiration for the leading man in our Miss Jones' love life.

However,some of that joy has been diluted today as word that Mark Darcy has been killed off in the new book, leaving Bridget a widow with two kids and looking to tackle the dating scene again. I am sure that some people will find this a non event but to those of us who really liked these books, this is quite the major shock indeed.

 Particularly since identifying with Bridget and all of her awkward ways was something many of us did and seeing how Mark Darcy was truly enchanted with her,warts and all, made our hearts hopeful for a happily ever after of our own:

Yet even in fiction, no love is perfect. In some ways, you can sympathize with the author's dilemma to keep the romantic tension going,a struggle that occurs not just on the page.

 Countless TV show "will-they-or-won't-they" relationships have had to jump through these rings of fire with varying degrees of success but more often than not,failure. Even the second follow-up to BJD,Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,wasn't as celebrated as it's predecessor was,both on film and in print.

 I tend to give that one a break since the plot line is loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion(my favorite Austen novel) but the movie version in particular does replay most of the high points of the first movie in a rather routine fashion:

Speaking of Austen, no mention has been made so far regarding whether or not BJD:Mad About The Boy will be using a plot line from one of Jane Austen's books as the previous ones did.

 Personally, I was hoping for an Emma type of story line with Bridget becoming one of those Smug Marrieds that she always dreaded during her Singleton days. Trying to fix up one of her still unwed girlfriends or a new person in her social midst(a cousin,perhaps?) or even one of her kids would provide lots of fun opportunities for mocking of social media.

I can see why the author would want to put her heroine back in the dating game but it is kind of harsh to kill off Mark there. A divorce would have suited the purpose just as well,with a move overseas due to his work thrown in,but perhaps she didn't want to deal with any notions of Bridget and Mark getting back together. In my Emma scenario, a divorce would have worked to make Mark over into a great Mr. Knightley who did see what he originally saw in Bridget and lead to a renewal of their relationship*sigh*.

I must tell myself,however, that Bridget Jones is not my character and that Helen Fielding has every right to write her story as she sees fit. It is not what I or many other fans would have wished for but since the book is not out yet, let's try not to get too Annie Wilkes about the whole thing:

Look on the bright side;at least we are getting another Bridget Jones book and this one might be as fun as the first one was. Not to mention having the perfect excuse to reread and re-watch the original editions of BJD(which I will be doing this weekend at Austenesque Reviews,where this topic will probably come up more than once).

So, even if you're not Mad About The Boy after reading it,don't get too mad at Helen Fielding over the departure of Mark Darcy. He is in good company in that regard,right next to Sherlock Holmes,Sirius Black and Dumbledore in terms of fan love.

For all of the amusement that her Bridget Jones stories have given us over the years, we as the fans should grant Helen Fielding the courtesy of hearing her out before we judge:


Thaddeus said...

Yeah, people are having a too-involved Misery-esque reaction here.

For my part, though, as a guy who only watched the first film, the "boytoy" aspect seems cheap and ill-considered, and the name "Roxster" is abso-f--king-lutely atrocious.

lady t said...

Yeah, I'm not loving the whole Cougar Town aspect of this new book but if the Superman franchise can survive the likes of Superman III(not to mention that horrible "Quest for Peace" sequel that Christopher Reeve did in order to star in Street Smart),hopefully the Bridget Jones legacy can outlast a "Roxster"(sounds like a rejected sidekick for the Joker!).