So yes, Fielding kills off Mark Darcy in the third book of the Bridget Jones series. That was very upsetting. But honestly, I thought this novel was better than the second one, Edge of Reason, which was pretty Darcy-centric. Mad About the Boy is all about Bridget, just like the first book, and her shitty love life and her faltering career and her obnoxious (but we love them!) friends. There’s a new element to Mad About the Boy, though, that was probably the best part of the book: Bridget has two little kids now, and she’s doing her damnedest to raise them alone.
“We cannot avoid pain, we cannot avoid loss. Contentment comes from the ease and flexibility with which we move through change.”
Bridget is in her early 50s now (don’t call her middle aged), and struggling to raise her kids five years after the death of her husband (*tear*). Fielding killed off Bridget’s dad, too, which really pissed me off because I LOVE Jim Broadbent and he was one of my favorite parts of the first novel/movie (I will admit to having read the first book once, and watched the movie eleventy billion times, so my idea of Bridget is tied inexorably to Renee Zellweger but I’ve made my peace with that and you should, too). Bridget’s friends keep trying to convince her to try dating again, so she makes her resolutions again (swearing off wine and grated cheese mostly) and tries to get back out there. All the while, she writes down everything in her diary, sticking to that voice that we all know so well.
Her dating misadventures are funny as usual, and she ends up having a romance with a much younger man who’s rather adorable. Of course, in the manner of all Bridget books, he turns out not to be THE ONE but THE ONE is someone she ignored all along (I totally nailed who it was like 1/3 of the way into the book–go me!). The introduction of 20th century technology into her life — the tweeting, the texting, the OK Cupid — adds some hilarity of its own as well. But I really liked her relationship with her kids best.
“But the thing about having kids is: you can’t go to pieces; you just have to keep going.”
Maybe it’s because I’ve been married for 10 years — and managed to really avoid the dating scene even before that — and have two little ones of my own, but I know that my life would absolutely fall apart if I lost my husband like Bridget lost Mark and I know that my kids would be the only reason I’d be able to keep it together. I got teary eyed when Bridget grieved Mark, and when she worried about how her grief affected her kids. She does her best to keep it together for the two of them and I loved that. I also thought they were shockingly well-written children. Overall, I found more to connect with in this story than in the others that focused just on Bridget’s love life or career. And I was really very pleasantly surprised by that.