Book Review: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

“...he picked me up in his arms, as if I was as light as a feather, which I am not, unless it was a very heavy feather, maybe from a giant prehistoric dinosaur-type bird...” 

Our favourite ditzy blonde is back in Mad About the Boy, but now she's a haphazard, forgetful single mother-of-two, in mourning for her happily ever after with fallen hero, Mark Darcy. Yes, folks, you read correctly: Mark Darcy is dead! Helen Fielding killed off our favourite top human rights lawyer and dashing English gent. Cue the cries of outrage! 

The loss of Mark was enough to put me off reading the third instalment of Bridget Jones's Diary, but as a lover of the book series and movie franchise respectively, I decided to give Fielding the benefit of the doubt. After all, Bridget is only really Bridget when she's a flailing single woman in comedic pursuit of love. Nevertheless, let's have a one-minute silence for our favourite pair of long sideburns (or second favourite after actual Mr Darcy), both brought to us in movie and TV-adaptation form by the divine Colin Firth. 

OK, now that that's done, let's crack on with this, shall we? 

In true Bridget Jones style, the now 51-year-old widow brings us up to speed on the latest fashion trends, which all the cool mums are sporting during the school pick-ups. 

"Just had another look at Grazia. Scarf is the thing I am missing with the skinny-jeans look, clearly. A floaty bohemian scarf, double looped round the neck."
Yes, 51-year-old Bridget wears skinny jeans in an effort to be young and chic, but fails to get noticed in bars by all the sleazy and good-looking available men, who seem to prefer younger women. It's a good thing she has gal pal Talitha there to console her by ridiculing the much younger competition: “Call me old-fashioned, but I did read in Glamour that one’s shorts should always be longer than one’s vagina.”

Despite that zinger, I found this book quite dull, so much so that I wanted to abandon it a few times. The laughs were few and far between, and the great unveiling of Bridget's final love interest (at least until the next book) was disappointingly predictable. I knew she was going to end up with this particular male from his first introduction. After all, she has a knack for falling for men who bring out her inner "Bridget" and make her feel a fool. 

But of course, before Bridget could find love with a suitable, mature partner, she had to try her hand at dating a much younger man first, one who would make her appear younger by association. Enter Roxster, real name Roxby McDuff! With her handsome toy boy with a ridiculous name, Bridget enjoys a gloriously juvenile relationship, in which an abundance of flirtatious texts are exchanged about vomiting and farting:

"136lb (bloody chicken pie, plus egg glaze)... number of times used word 'fart' in texts to Roxster 9 (undignified)."

The only real laugh Mad About the Boy elicited from me was when Bridget succumbs to the pressure of age and gets Botox injected around her mouth. The end result? An allergic reaction that causes her entire mouth to swell up:

"Have started drooling. Cannot control mouth so drool is coming out of side of mouth like - ironically enough given objective was to look younger - stroke 'victim' in old people's home."

I must admit, this part had me shaking with laughter. But it was the only part that did, unfortunately.

Let's hope the film will be funnier!

My rating: