When I Instagrammed this photo of myself on a recent Friday night and captioned it, “Feel like I’m catching up with an old friend”, so many of my own acquaintances replied and commented about how much they’re all looking forward to catching up with Bridget Jones, too. (Side note…how much would Bridget Jones love Instagram? I would follow her in a heartbeat just to see duckface selfies of she, Jude and Talitha taken after units of alcohol consumed: 8)
Everywhere I went on the Internet and in real life, women stopped me to ask how I’d gotten my hands on a copy of the third novel in the Bridget Jones trilogy. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy thanks to a lucky lottery pull, but as of this Tuesday everyone will be reading it.
“Bridget Jones’ Diary” splashed on to the publishing scene in 1996 and was the book that every woman was reading that year. The main character, with all of her single woman neuroses; Helen Fielding’s unique and accessible writing style; the pop culture references; and the laugh out loud situations, made it the book of that year and launched an entire genre of literature. Chick lit evolved (some good, some bad), but no novel from the genre surpassed the popularity of Bridget Jones. The second novel came out in 1999, and we’ve all been waiting fourteen years to catch up on Bridget’s life.
Fans will not be disappointed.
“It’s not often I meet someone your age who’s still got a real face.”– another mother to Bridget at their sons’ school Sports Day
Bridget Jones is older (with the Botox and dye job to prove it) and wiser (it’s not a spoiler revealing that the novel starts with Bridget as a widower with two young children since that’s explained 25 pages into the novel), but she is the same person with the same wonderful self-deprecating sense of humour and terrific social commentary skills.
Bridget tackles dating in the age of the text and lives to tell the tale,
“The fantastic thing about texting is that it allows you to have an instant, intimate emotional relationship giving each other a running commentary on your lives, without taking up any time whatsoever or involving meetings or arrangements or any of the complicated things which take place in the boring old non-cyber world.”
As you’d suspect, her introduction to the Twitterverse brings back all of @JonesyBJ’s insecurities.
“Realize Twitter has a bad effect on character, making me obsessed with how many followers I have, self-conscious and regretful as soon as I have sent a tweet, and guilty if I do not report any minor events in my life to the Twitter followers, at which a number of them immediately disappear.”
Like so many of us, she’s dealing with growing children, aging parents, the playground mother mafia, professional frustrations, fashion challenges and trying to balance it all. We can laugh at Bridget’s foibles because if we don’t, we might cry at our own. Reading this latest saga felt as cathartic to me as a night out with old girlfriends, a few bottles of wine and a bellyache from laughing.
The story is a very quick read, and although the narrative is less important than the social critique, the ending was satisfying. When I closed the book I actually sighed, and felt so glad that I’d caught up with Bridget all these years later.