“Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy,” the third book by Helen Fielding centering on London resident and diary-keeper Bridget Jones, has earned mixed reviews so far.
The novel had already drawn ire from some fans after it was revealed that Bridget’s love interest, Mark Darcy, had died several years before “Mad” began and that Bridget is now a widow.
New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin began her review with the statement, “Bridget Jones, R.I.P.” and called Fielding’s series “once-lovable.”
“You’re not dead yet, but you might as well be,” Maslin wrote of Bridget. “The only conceivable reason to read about [Bridget] is that old habits die hard.”
Washington Post writer Jen Chaney was also not enamored with Fielding’s new book.
“While parenthood and profound loss may have forced Bridget to grow up in some ways, she hasn’t grown up much,” Chaney wrote. “And that’s one of this novel’s key problems…. Despite the addition of children, this seems like a Bridget Jones story we’ve already read, two times before, and that, for all its references to tweeting and texting, seems out of touch with the current moment.”
USA Today reviewer Martha T. Moore found Fielding’s first novel about Bridget to be fun but pointed out that in the years since “Diary” came out, chick lit has covered a lot of the plot points now used in “Mad.”
Moore also found Bridget herself lacking in the newest installment.
“The sharp, fresh eye that Fielding brought to the first two "Diaries" must be sleep-deprived,” she wrote. “Bridget's moxie is MIA....There's a very likable, frazzled, fragile woman who narrates this enjoyable book and she will make you smile. But she's not our Bridge.”
However, Guardian writer Stephanie Merritt found “Mad” enjoyable and said she found the death of Mark Darcy to be “a brilliant solution to the obvious problem of a third book.”
“Bridget chronicles all this in her own inimitable voice,” Merritt wrote of the book. “She is supposed to be ridiculous and often infuriating. But she is also very human, with all her insecurities, and if you don't shed a few tears in the course of this book, you must have a heart of ice.”
However, like Moore, Merritt said chick lit has made many plot points pretty familiar to readers.
“It's hard not to feel that Fielding is hampered by her own legacy,” she wrote.
Fielding’s first book about Bridget, “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” came out in 1996 and the second, “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” followed in 1998. The first two books were adapted into movies starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant which were released in 2001 and 2004, respectively.