Friday, January 3, 2014

Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding- Review

For those of you (you know who you are), who are holding out from reading this latest Jonesy romp because of the death of Darcy I am here to tell you- You Are Missing Out. Seriously.  And if any of you are jumping up and down in rage over that *spoiler* I A) commend your super down low skill of hiding out from all social media, book buzz or other media, and B) have to spoil your righteous rant by letting you know it says it in the jacket blurb, not to mention on the first page. Also, if you are that inane person who was at the same signing as me and asked Fielding if she minded that she was alienating her younger readers by jumping Bridget in age from thirties to fifties, and by making her a single mother (she couldn't relate and didn't get into the book...WHY DID SHE COME TO THE SIGNING??!) let me suggest we go out for coffee and I'll happily sit you down to explain the aging process and the fact you will not be twenty forever, however, you may stay single if you remain that hopelessly rude and unaware of it. Yesh.

I digress! Bridget, oh you wonderful, charming girl you. Don't ever change. I think this was what I loved the most about the book; she got the handsome, brilliant catch lawyer, she was married, had two kids, the perfect house and a great life. She's lost a beloved husband and had to re-adapt yet again, but she is still totally herself. The same, self-improving, guilt eating, socially imperfect, yet funny and genuine woman I fell in love with years ago in the first two books. If anything, being a mother has amplified the whole thing for me. Following her and her friends as they deal with the rapid fire spread of Nits from Bridget's kids onwards, texting queries as to the possibilities of crabs and head lice being the same, and trying desperately to not scratch their heads while in business meetings or on dates had me killing myself laughing. It's just like old times but funnier. 
When we got home, Billy and I slump on the sofa as Mabel played happily with her sexual health leaflets.
'I got rubbish marks for my homework,' said Billy.
'I got rubbish marks for my screenwriting.'
I showed him the email about the 'proper screwriter'. Billy handed me his art book with his colouring of Ganesha the Elephant God and the teacher's notes:
'I like your mix of yellow, green and red on his head. However, I am not sure that the multicoloured ears quite work.'
We stared at each other dolefully, then both started giggling.
'Shall we have an oatmeal cookie?' I said.
We got through the whole packet, but it's just like eating muesli, right?

I felt like her parenting misadventures highlighted what I love best about Bridget. She's got a happy spirit, she means well, and she's one hundred percent herself. Which is both funny and lovable. I would hope I could be as good a parent, you know, just with less fires.

After a while Billy raised his head. 'Mummy,' he whispered softly, a faraway look in his eye.
'Mbffff?' I murmured, heart overflowing with love.
'The spaghetti is on fire.'
Oh dear. Had left spaghetti in the pan with the dry bits leaning over the edge at a sharp angle, intending to squidge them down when the other end softened, but somehow they had tilted down and caught fire.
'I'll get de fire extinglewish,' said Mabel calmly, as if this were an everyday occurrence. Which of course it is not.
'Nooo!' I said, berserk, grabbing a tea towel and throwing it on the pan, at which the tea towel also caught fire and the smoke alarm went off.
 Suddenly felt the splash of cold water. Turned to see Billy pouring a jug of cold water over the whole thing, extinguishing the flames and leaving a smouldering, but extinguished, mess on the cooker. He was grinning delightedly. 'Can we eat it now?'
Mabel too was looking thrilled. 'Can we toast marshbellowth?'
So (once Billy had turned the smoke alarm off) we did toast marshbellows. On the fire. In the fireplace. And it was one of our nicest evenings.

If you are a previous Bridget fan, someone just looking for a fun read or one of the many people who've seen the movies and not read the books then it's time you jump in. I promise you won't regret it. 

Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding
Published by Knopf Canada, October 15, 2013
My copy kindly provided by the publisher


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