Bridget’s darling Darcy is
Sunday Times - September 29, 2013
Fielding’s carefree heroine becomes a widowed single mother in the
latest Bridget Jones novel
Mark Darcy is dead; Bridget Jones is a widow. The long-awaited third
diary of the world’s most famous singleton brings this shocking news
to her global army of fans today. Helen Fielding, the author, has killed
off her dashing hero.
In the final pages of Bridget’s last diary, more than a decade ago,
Darcy had just proposed and she looked set for wedded bliss. But in
Fielding’s new Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mad about the Boy,
everything has changed.
Bridget and Darcy did get married, and they had two children. But they
did not live happily ever after. The carefree singleton is now a
51-year-old single mother, battling nits and the school run, and
rediscovering romance with a toy boy while obsessing about her Twitter
followers as well as her weight and wrinkles.
Bridget Jones’s Diary, with its catchphrases — “Weight:
130lb. Terrifying slide into obesity. Why? Why?” — began as a
newspaper column and was deemed one of the 10 novels that best defined
the 20th century.
The first book and its follow-up, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,
sold 15m copies in 40 countries and were made into two Hollywood films,
starring Renée Zellweger as Bridget and Colin Firth as Darcy.
Fielding’s publisher hopes that the latest volume — serialised
exclusively in The Sunday Times Magazine today — will
give a voice to the more mature, social media-obsessed concerns of the
women who grew up with Bridget.
The cause of Darcy’s death is buried in a flashback deep within the
new diaries and is not being revealed in advance. The book opens five
years later when her friends — including Daniel Cleaver, the cad
played in the film by Hugh Grant, now a devoted if disreputable
godfather to the children — are determined to lift her out of misery.
After eventful visits to nightclubs, she meets a new boyfriend, Roxster,
on Twitter and frets over taking him to her old friend Talitha’s 60th
birthday party. Unfortunately, it is his 30th birthday on the same
“It would be funny to take Roxster and also smug-making”, she writes
in her diary, “because the thirtieth/sixtieth birthday thing would
stop all that patronising pitying-of-single-women-‘of-a-certain-age’
thing... but it might put Roxster off me to be surrounded by old
people... and make some unnecessary point about how old I am though of
course am MUCH younger than Talitha. And frankly I refuse to believe how
old I actually am.”
Fielding makes Bridget nervous about what she is getting into, still
addressing her lost husband: “Five years. Has it really been five
years? Oh Mark. Mark. What am I doing? Why did I start all this? Why
didn’t I just stay as I was. Sad, lonely, workless, sexless but at
least a mother, a widow and faithful...”
There is poignancy as well as humour: “Have made a decision. Am going
to completely change. Am going to return to Zen/New Age/self-help-book
study and yoga, etc, starting from the inside not the outside, meditate
regularly, and lose weight. I will not: lie in bed in the morning
thinking erotic thoughts; ever be late for the school run; do V-signs at
people during school run; chew more than 10 pieces of Nicorette per day;
hide empty wine bottles; eat more than three Big Macs or Starbucks
ham-and-cheese paninis per week; wang around hysterically when things go
wrong... But how can I accept what happened?”
Fielding has always denied that Bridget Jones is autobiographical, but
she herself is 55 and a single mother of two young children.
After her relationship with Kevin Curran, a television executive on The
Simpsons, ended in 2009 she returned from Hollywood and lives with their
children in north London.