Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 17th 2013 Contents Breaking the news of Darcy s demise
to Firth, who starred opposite Renee
Zellweger in the film adaptations of Brid-
get Jones s Diary and Bridget Jones: The
Edge of Reason, was surprisingly tough.
"I was really nervous, and I had to
make sure that he had someone with
him and they were sitting down. And
then I said, Colin, I ve got something
really bad to tell you.
"And then I suppose I just said You re
dead, which is an odd thing to say to
anyone. And we were both upset, but
at the same time we were laughing."
Bridget Jones s Diary, published in
1996, turned Fielding from a freelance
journalist into one of Britain s most suc-
cessful writers. The novel and its 1999
sequel have sold 15 million copies.
For years, Fielding resisted writing
another installment. She was drawn back
into Bridget s world by a desire to write
about the lives of middle-aged women,
who often face stereotyping, just as the
single Bridget did in the earlier books.
"There was the idea of tragic, barren
spinster because she was unmarried in
her 30s," Fielding said. "It was real then.
You were Miss bloody Havisham if you
didn t have a boyfriend at 35. And I think
the same is true of the middle-aged
"When I was in my 20s, I couldn t
imagine that life would continue beyond
40, really," she added. "I couldn t imagine
there would still be dating and going out
and getting drunk with your friends and
worrying about calls or texts that hadn t
come, and what to wear."
In Mad About the Boy, Bridget s
romantic misadventures are overshad-
owed by loss and the fear of aging---but
a strong comic vein remains.
"I think most of the things I write are
a mixture of dark and light," Fielding
Life is "not all sailing along marvel-
lously, nor is it Oh, we re in a well of
despair. People hit tough times, and then
their friends get round them and cheer
them up and then they keep buggering
As in the previous books, Bridget can
lean on old friends Jude, Tom and Talitha,
as well as disreputable former paramour
She navigates the treacherous world
of online dating sites and Twitter, and
acquires a 29-year-old boyfriend named
The book also introduces Mr Wallaker,
a teacher at Bridget s son s school with
whom she instantly clashes. But wait---
s that a spark between them? (Hint:
Fielding says her dream casting for a
movie adaptation is Daniel Craig).
Bridget has always contained elements
of Fielding, who is 55 and, like her char-
acter, lives in one of the nicer areas of
North London with two young children.
She is separated from their father, Amer-
ican comedy writer Kevin Curran.
There are glimpses of Bridget in the
writer s quick wit and sense of the
absurd---though Fielding exudes a con-
siderably greater sense of control than
her hapless heroine.
Mad About the Boy suffered its own
Bridget Jones-style mishap when 40
pages from another book, a memoir by
actor David Jason, were inserted into the
British edition by mistake.
And some of the reviews have been
less than glowing: not everyone hails
mishap-prone, insecure Bridget as a
21st-century heroine. Guardian news-
paper columnist Suzanne Moore wrote
a piece headlined "Why I Hate Bridget
Jones," condemning the character as
"vapid, consumerist and self-obsessed"
and the book as anti-feminist.
Fielding has heard that argument
She said that if women can t make
fun of themselves, "we haven t got very
far at being equal, have we?"
"And also, I think that is the way
women communicate with each other,
often, privately. They talk about their
frailties, their mess-ups, their weak-
nesses, their vulnerabilities, and they are
funny about it and they support each
"I was surprised with the first book,
with the women who told me they iden-
tified with it---powerful, successful
women, saying Oh yes, I have that prob-
lem with tights being all tangled up.
And it s not just women, either. (Prime
Minister) David Cameron was in the
papers not so long ago...and he said that
he d get in a situation when he s got the
kids in the back of the car and he gets
a head of state on the phone: Will you
shut up, I ve got the Israeli Prime Min-
ister on the phone! "
Thursday, October 17, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Readers, there is good news and
bad news. Bridget Jones is back.
But---brace yourselves---Mark Darcy
Fans have been shaken by the
revelation, leaked ahead of publi-
cation of Bridget Jones: Mad About
The Boy, the third book in Helen
Fielding s series about the diary-
writing singleton. He may be fic-
tional, but the demise of Bridget s
handsome lawyer lover---played on
the big screen by a smoldering Colin
Firth---was headline news.
"I turned on the news and there
was the Syrian crisis, and then
Mark Darcy is dead, " Fielding said,
"It s quite extraordinary for a fic-
tional character to be treated as if
they re alive. I sort of think, hats
off to Colin, because really he inhab-
ited that character."
The reaction is a testament to
the hold of Fielding s characters on
the popular imagination. In ditsy,
indomitable Bridget, she created an
archetype. (In Darcy she borrowed
one, from the brooding M Darcy of
Jane Austen s Pride and Prejudice).
Bridget, created for a series of
1990s newspaper columns, was a
30-something Londoner looking
for love and career fulfillment while
enduring the condescension of
"smug marrieds" and confessing
her many insecurities in her diaries:
"Alcohol units 7, cigarettes 22, calo-
ries 2,145. Minutes spent inspecting
face for wrinkles 230."
In Mad About the Boy she is still
counting calories and booze, though
cigarettes have been replaced by
nicotine gum. Bridget is now a 51-
year-old widow with two young
children, convinced she will never
find romance again.
Fielding said she had no choice
but to kill Darcy so Bridget s
story could move on.
"The book I wanted to write
was not about domesticity,
married life. It was about
Bridget struggling with what
life throws at you," Fielding said
over lunch at the London gastropub
where she likes to write in the day-
"It was Bridget being single with
two children in the age of technol-
ogy. And rediscovering her sexuality.
She was a mother and she lost it
amid the nappies and the busy-
ness. I think lots of women go
Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy, is the third book in her series
about the diary-writing singleton.
Bridget Jones is back in Mad About the Boy
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