of Mr Darcy
Elizabeth Mitchell | The Mancunion - 7 October, 2013
The press and the public react to the Helen Fielding killing off Mark Darcy in her latest book.
Image: Esmé Clifford Astbury
In advance of appearing on our shelves this coming month, an extract of
Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones: Mad About
The Boy was published in The Sunday Times Magazine on
29th September 2013. First appearing in The Independent in
1995, Fielding’s column about the 30-something working singleton
grabbed the imagination of women up and down the country. A year later
saw the release of the novel Bridget Jones’s Diary, followed by
the 1999 sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason.
Riding on their success, the multiple award-nominated film adaptations,
starring Renée Zellweger, were released in 2001 and 2004 respectively.
So, what has Bridget Jones been up to for all these years? In many
respects, things haven’t changed that much: Bridget still drinks
copious amounts of alcohol (although she’s matured from Chardonnay to
cocktails) and obsesses over self-help books, and Daniel Clever seems as
sleazy as ever. Then again, Bridget has grown up, both in terms of age
and with the times. She’s been catapulted into middle age: she’s now
51 and preoccupied with wrinkles. She has two children, Mabel and Billy,
leading to nit-related dilemmas and parental playground warfare. Instead
of habitually checking her voicemail, Bridget’s obsessed with the
number of Twitter followers she has. Oh,
and she’s a widow.
This bombshell was dropped on readers in no uncertain terms. At the end
of the last novel, we left Bridget having just been proposed to by the
slightly-awkward-lawyer-yet-gorgeous-heartthrob Mark Darcy. The third
instalment starts five years on from Darcy’s death, with the knowledge
that he became Jones’ husband and the father of her two children.
Although how he died will not be revealed until the book’s release,
the published extract featured Bridget lamenting over Mark’s death as
she struggles to form a relationship with Roxster, a 29 year old toyboy.
Twitter users flocked to express their discontent at the robbing of
Bridget’s ‘happily ever after’ as well as their love for the
Although I personally had a day of mourning, maybe Fielding’s
distressing move had a motive. The thing most readers ultimately love
about Bridget is the sexual scrapes she got into as a singleton.
Unattached as a widowed single mother of two, the predicaments can only
be bigger and better than ever.