Fielding returns with another
Jones novel, ‘Mad About the Boy’
Sherryl Connelly | New York Daily News | October 2, 2013
this third book in the BJ saga, Mark Darcy has died and Bridget is a
dumpy middle-aged single mom who’s not having sex, until she meets her
Mark Darcy died a hero’s death. And Bridget Jones sleeps alone again
in “Mad About the Boy,” the first BJ book from author Helen Fielding
in 14 years.
More shockers: She’s 51 and the mother of two small children. And fat.
In short, Bridget Jones is a middle-aged, dumpy single mother with no
It makes you want to ask, where is Fielding going with this?
Not to worry. She’s seen us through two novels “Bridget Jones’s
Diary” and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” which together
have sold more than 15 million copies and been made into two movies
starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
First, let’s put Mark to rest.
The story told in “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” begins several
years after Darcy’s death in 2008, when the jeep he was traveling in
hit a land mine in the Darfur region of Sudan. Identified in the obit as
a “leading international figure in victim representation,” the
lawyer was in Sudan to secure the release of two British workers held
hostage by the rebel regime.
Their children, William and daughter Mabel, were 2 and 3-months-old at
Four years later, Bridget is trying to start life again but just
“Dear Mark,” she writes him, “I miss you so much. I love you so
much .... But the thing is, Mark, I just can’t manage on my own. I
really, really can’t.”
Her weight has ballooned to 175, and wine has once again become her
chief nutritional supplement. And while she relentlessly chews Nicorette
gum in lieu of smoking, Bridget still begins each diary entry with a
running tally of defeat, as in:
“Thursday 19 April 2012: 175 lbs., alcohol units 4 (nice), calories
2822, possibility of having or desire to have sex ever again 0.”
Her friends, Talitha, Jude and Tom — Shazza is off making a fortune in
Silicon Valley — are determined that things must change.
“Grieving apart, Bridget has lost, or shall we say, mislaid her sense
of sexual self. And it’s our duty to help her relocate it,”
pronounces Talitha, still hi-def glamorous at 60.
Jude judges Facebook too advanced, or rather too rife with the potential
for humiliating herself, for Bridget. But she does sign on Twitter
@JonesyBJ, then waits weeks for followers to come. In the meantime,
Bridget seeks help at an obesity clinic. After a rocky start, where on a
typical day she consumes 28 chocolate protein bars and 37 chocolate
protein puddings on top of regular meals, she loses weight.
She even finds meaningful work, submitting a screenplay, “The Leaves
in His Hair,” to a production company that gives it a green light.
It’s just unfortunate that on the title page Bridget identifies the
story as a modernization of “Hedda Gabbler” by Anton Chekhov.
It is Mr. Wallaker, the new head of sports at her son’s school, where
the children go by precious names like Atticus and Eros, who eventually
informs her that Gabler is one “b,” and the play was written by
By then she has repeatedly embarrassed herself in his presence. Once, he
even finds her up a tree, her thong on full display, in Hampstead Heath.
Never mind he has the looks and bearing of Daniel Craig, seems wryly
amused at her most outrageous moments, and in so many ways brings to
mind a certain Mark Darcy. Hint: She isn’t having him. For one thing,
she believes him to be married. For another, she has her “toy boy”
to attend to.
She meets the “gorgeous-beyond-belief” 29-year-old Roxster on
Twitter — she finally gains followers after tweeting her newly devised
dating rules. Roxby McDuff works for an eco-charity and, oh my, the sex
He is the boy she is mad about, the title taken from the Dinah
Washington song she dances to alone in the kitchen after their first
highly erotic night together.
The affair caroms forward, reaching its glorious zenith when at a party
jammed with condescending, middle-aged, married couples who openly pity
Bridget’s singletonness, Roxster leaps into a pool to rescue
Talitha’s toy poodle.
He emerges abs gleaming, and in that glorious moment, Bridget is
rebranded as the luckiest girl in town.
The two cannot last as a couple, and don’t, which paves the way for
Bridget to have a disastrous experience with Botox, bond more closely
with the women in her life who reveal themselves not to be perfect, too,
and discover Mr. Wallaker’s first name.
There’s a big reveal about Mr. Wallaker, not to be disclosed except to
say that it qualifies him as an eminently suitable successor to Mark
And oh, right, Daniel Cleaver. With Colin Firth gone, Hugh Grant must
have a role to play in the third movie. Well, Daniel has it about right
when he tells Bridget, “I feel tragic, a past-it old fool.”
Other than Daniel’s trip to rehab, which he refers to as the sin bin,
“Mad About the Boy” ends quite happily ever after.
Just as you knew it would.