I recently re-read Helen Fielding's 1996 bestseller, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and something jumped out at me that I didn't even notice the first time I read it, maybe because back in 1996, I was 22 years old and still had an actual metabolism. You remember all that bitching Bridget does about her weight? Well, she tops out at like 130 pounds. I KNOW, RIGHT?
Well, perhaps I will more closely identify with Fielding's new book, which will focus on an older, if not necessarily wiser, Bridget. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is set to be published on October 10, 2013, and while in many respects it sounds like we'll be reunited with the same bumbling Brit we came to love back in the day, the updated approach to Bridget's life definitely has me looking forward to reading it.
Bridget Jones' Diary became an international bestseller in the '90s and, three years after its release, spawned a (less appealing, in my opinion) follow-up novel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. There were also two Hollywood films based on the books starring Renée Zellweger, although by most accounts they should have stopped after the first.
It's a little surprising Fielding didn't continue relentlessly cranking out written sequels while rolling around in her golden bed filled with thousand-dollar bills, but as she explained, her staggering book sales came with a creative downside:
I sort of lost my voice with Bridget for a long time after the unexpected success when it first came out. It was very easy to write and be honest, then I got all self-conscious.
The story behind the third Bridget Jones novel hasn't been fully revealed, but here's a list of hints provided by Fielding and her publisher in various interviews:
• Bridget will be older. No word, however, on whether she'll have aged a full 14 years, which is how long it's been since Edge of Reason was published.
• Bridget will be dating. So it sounds like this version of Bridget won't have anything to do with the series of columns Fielding wrote for The Independent seven years ago, which culminated in Bridget having a baby with Daniel Cleaver.
• Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy will still be around. Fielding has confirmed Bridget's longtime suitors will be a "presence" in this book.
• Bridget's still keeping a diary. Well, duh.
• Bridget will be immersed in social media. Instead of focusing on her weight during each diary entry (hooray!), she'll be focused on her Twitter followers (... hmm). Fielding says entries will include things like, "Number of Twitter followers: 0. Still no followers. Still no followers."
• Bridget will be doing a lot of texting. As Fielding said,
I found last Spring I had new stuff I wanted to say. Things that didn’t exist when I last wrote, like emails and texting. The way life is lived through Twitter. And a whole new idea for a phase of her life that I can’t jinx by describing it.
Fielding may not be willing to describe it, but she has released a small excerpt of Mad About the Boy, which has a very familiar feel:
Wednesday 24 October 2012
11.27 pm Just presss d SEND. Iss fineisn't it?
You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30pm to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or exocet missile.
DATING RULE NO:1
DO NOT TEXT WHEN DRUNK
All in all, it seems like we'll be enjoying the same old Bridget -- with a few modern updates:
(...) she has grown up. My life has moved on and hers will move on too. She's still trying to give up [drinking and smoking], she's still on a diet. She's trying a bit harder, and is a bit more successful, but she's never really going to change.
Sounds like a smart move by Fielding. We read Bridget Jones for entertaining escapism, so it doesn't make sense to alter the winning formula by saddling her with a couple kids and focusing on her thrilling adventures doing laundry and grocery shopping. I suppose a still-dating, still-dieting, Twitter-obsessed Bridget may grow a little tiresome after a while, but I'll definitely be checking this out when it hits the shelves.
Were you a Bridget Jones fan? Are you looking forward to reading the new book?
Image via Amazon