Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, By Helen Fielding

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

Fielding: Fondly lampoons pretentiousness

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding - Review

There’s a bit in the middle of Mad About the Boy when the agent for Bridget’s screenplay – a modern interpretation of Hedda Gabler set in Queen’s Park – sends her a strange email. “We have a couple of responses on your script,” he writes. “They are passing. The themes are fascinating but they’re wanting more of a romcom feel. I’ll keep trying.” It could be a coincidence, but by this point it reads like a coded SOS from the author. The book is at its best when it is a poignant comic novel about a 51-year-old woman struggling to bring up children after the sudden death of her husband. It is hit-and-miss when it’s about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who struggles with all the TV remotes and counts nits instead of Chardonnays. But on occasion it becomes a parody of a Richard Curtis film, or even worse an American sitcom, and that of course is v v bad.

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A good book must have a certain aroma. That is what a lifetime of reading library books has taught me. Some reek too much of tobacco, others have a musty odour that seems to choke the very text, but the books that chime with me just smell right. I find them by accident; hiding behind frayed plastic jackets in the book sales of the local libraries. I peel away their protective wrapping and then sniff. In the Heart of the Country by JM Coetzee had hints of apple, sandalwood and charcoal between its pages; surprising, for such a lean and austere book, but  also promising.

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