Bodice Rippers & Erotica Book Reviews: Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones is back
Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy
Olivia Jouls and the Overactive Imagination
Bridget Jones Diary
Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy by Helen Fielding
Read by Tracy in November 2013
Tracy recommends if you want a step back in time
The Blurb: When Helen Fielding first wrote Bridget Jones' Diary, charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990's, she introduced readers to one of the most beloved characters in modern literature. The book was published in 40 countries, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and spawned a best-selling sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The two books were turned into major blockbuster films starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. With her hotly anticipated third instalment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Fielding introduces us to a whole new enticing phase of Bridget's life set in contemporary London, including the challenges of maintaining sex appeal as the years roll by and the nightmare of drunken texting, the skinny jean, the disastrous email cc, total lack of twitter followers, and TVs that need 90 buttons and three remotes to simply turn on. An uproariously funny novel of modern life, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is a triumphant return of our favourite Everywoman.
The Reality: This book had a lot of look up to - are successfully writing two books about the life of a young, single Bridget Jones, it has been a long time between drinks. Back in the 1990's there wasn't social media and Bridget was restricted to checking her telephone messages. Now we are overloaded with Twitter, emails, texting and Facebook. So you would think that the old Bridget would be able to adapt quite well and the amount of erroneous information she can send out would lead to no end of embarrassment. Alas I don't think Bridget has aged too well and her antics were nothing new. Although Bridget is now 51 she is acting like a giggling school girl which made me frustrated and annoyed at her. Fielding took a lot of risks with this book - Bridget is not divorced as we may have suspected, but is now a widow with two children to support (Billy and Mabel). She is still focused on her calorie and alcohol intake. However, she has some very zany friends around her, not least of all Daniel Cleaver who is now a sad parody of himself. However, her friends didn't ring true, none of my friends ever told told anyone you are lost in a morass of nebulous cyber presences, most of whom don't exist and who simply turn each other on and off randomly at will. After five years of grieving, Bridget is she is back in the dating game whilst juggling single parenthood. Except now the rules have changed "young women are more sexually aggressive now, and men are naturally lazier. You have to, at the very least, … encourage." She launched herself into Twitter and waits for her followers not realising she has to attract them. I hate Twitter, so maybe that had something to do with my growing annoyance with her constant updates, although maybe it was Fielding trying to connect with a younger audience. However, I did laugh when reading Call me old-fashioned, but I did read in Glamour that one's shorts should always be longer than one's vagina a lot of girls at the moment seem to have ignored that piece of advice. However, after a few depressed days she eventually snares Roxster (Roxby McDuff) as a follower and quickly succumbs to his sarcasm and charm and they start dating. We are quickly back into Bridget's neurosis and the why-hasn't-he-called replaced by why-hasn't-he-texted. In reality it just felt a bit sad for her, after all we have been through this all before. There was nothing new - she no longer voiced what we thought and she has lost touch with reality, at least in previous books she had a career and a life, now she doesn't need to work and seems oblivious to anything outside of her bubble. Her romantic interludes were also a duplicate of previous books - Roxster and Mr Wallaker reminded me of Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy! Still it was an enjoyable read, there was nothing to wouldn't stop you settling down and reading a few pages here and there as you juggled your own domestic bliss. One final annoyance was the use of discombobulated - since when did this word become so common that it is overused.
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
Read by Tracy in 2007
Tracy recommends for a great holiday read
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination is the follow up to the hugely successful Bridget Jones' Diary. In this book we see a new heroine who by day is a beauty journalist but who lets her imagination run riot leading her to suspect that a Hollywood film producer is an al-Qaeda operative which obviously isn't wrong as she is also courted by MI6 and soon ends up foiling a huge terrorist attack. There are huge differences between Olivia and Bridget which is meant to keep the storylines separate, however, I couldn't stop comparing the two. Even though Olivia is skinny and beautiful she still has the klutz factor that Bridget had. However, it is a lively book with plenty of action to keep you entertained whilst out by the pool.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
Read by Natalie 2005 and Tracy 2006
Natalie and Tracy recommend this as a good, but not as good a follow up to her diary!
This is the follow up to Bridget Jones' Diary and tells the after story, what happens after Bridget has found Mr Right. Everyone knows this is going to be Mr Darcy, but that doesn't mean Daniel Cleaver is out of the picture. This book is entertaining, but not quite as good as the first. The trip to Thailand and subsequent time in jail just isn't quite plausible, even for chick-lit! Still it is good fun and worth a read. This has also been made into a movie, and like the book, isn't quite as good as its predecessor. Still it's great escapism and that's really all it's meant to be!
Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
Read by Natalie and Tracy 2005
Natalie and Tracy recommends this as a hilarious insight into single life - I love British humour!
This is the diary of Bridget Jones, a single girl in Britain looking for Mr Right. On the one hand is sexy Daniel Cleaver her boss at the publishing company and on the other is Mark Darcy, the slightly weird family friend. Told obviously in diary format, this tells of Bridget's journey as she tries to work out which of these men is the right one for her. Joined by 3 friends, this is a hilarious escape into single life in the UK.
The movie version is equally hilarious and showcases a brilliant Renee Zellwegger who is fantastic as a Brit - rumour has it, Hugh Grant didn't even realise she was American, her accent was that good. Tracy definitely does not agree with Natalie's take of the movie and thought it was terrible, including the acting, and was extremely disappointed they varied so much away from the theme and structure of the book.