When a friend suggested I read the latest work of Helen Fielding (of Bridget Jones fame), I had to admit I was interested. Here was a character I liked with a situation similar to one I had just finished writing. I plunked down my $12 and settled in for a nice holiday read. I was…whelmed. The ‘crazy’ British lady trope is one I always try to enjoy, but end up getting annoyed with (I’m looking at you, Shopaholic series). Bridget Jones, even in her 50’s, has not outgrown many of her previous bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I think she should still be able to get drunk, eat whatever she wants, etc., however…I would’ve liked to have seen some degree of maturity and character growth from her previous life (really, the subplot regarding Twitter posting in the book is downright cringeworthy! Also, do NOT get me started on the name Roxster).
As for her being a widow, the topic is so absolutely washed over, it’s almost not worth mentioning. For being a very central figure in the previous novels, Mark Darcy’s death is not something Bridget particularly dwells on. Yes, I realize in the span of the book that it’s been a number of years and of course I have no problem with her moving on. However, it’s the blase manner in which she does so that is irritating. My protagonist approaches her widowhood in such a different way, that for most of the book I forgot Bridget even was a widow (maybe that intentional on the part of Ms. Fielding, I don’t know).
I guess I really wonder, why? Why write this book? It’s an extensive piece of exposition that feels forced and phoned in. I have no doubt Ms. Fielding could write Bridget in her sleep, but why put a well loved protagonist through all this? I have no doubt that some executive in Hollywood will (if they haven’t already) option this and who knows? Maybe it will make a good film.
Reading the reviews of the book, it appears I am in the majority. For a successful author, this book does not receive particularly decent ratings on either Amazon or Goodreads, with plenty of scathing comments and disappointed readers. I think the price is way too high and am surprised an editor didn’t get a look at an early draft and tell the author to go back to the drawing board.