I’m going to admit to jumping on the Bridget Jones bandwagon over a decade ago. I was living in central London, in a strange place with strangers, and I developed a bit of an obsession with books and movies about my surroundings. Notting Hill was a recent movie, and Ms Jones was gallivanting around the same parts of the city I was.
I went to see the first movie metres from some of the movie locations. I wasn’t yet old enough to identify with some of Bridget’s dilemmas, but I felt connected with her.
Sure, the books weren’t great literature, but they were very much of the moment, and Brits take to chick lit more than people anywhere. Jones was a Big Deal, and I believed it as much as anyone.
Of course all fads pass, and here we are in 2013, the lady with the weight and man problems wiped from most people’s minds. This is why I was surprised to pick up the weekend newspaper a couple of weeks ago to discover a (negative) review of another Bridget Jones instalment.
When did this happen? How did I not know about it?
I don’t consider it a spoiler (as it’s freely mentioned everywhere the book is mentioned), but here’s the thing: in this new book Bridget is in her fifties, and Mark Darcy, the man she fought hard for, is dead. Yes, DEAD.
I could be wrong, but isn’t this guy one of the reasons this series was a success? Isn’t the casting of Colin Firth one of the main reasons the film was such a success?
This particular brand of chick lit is sold as happy-go-lucky, women in the city, cheesy ending type fiction. Fun, and ultimately satisfying. Sure, Helen Fielding can make whatever decisions she wants about her own characters, but all I can think is, WHY?
Why would you do that? The series was very much of its time, and something I looked back on fondly, even if I had no particular interest in it anymore. Why not let a ‘classic’ (yes, I’m using the term strangely!) be instead of dragging it on and on?
I’m going to call this a serious, serious case of an author not knowing when to let something go. Instead of adding to the fun of the earlier books, the author has killed – literally – one of the best things the story had going for it.
Now, you may have noticed I didn’t say I’d read the new book. For all I know, I might love it. However, I’d rather keep Mark Darcy alive than read something likely to destroy an iconic story of a decade and a half ago.