Bridget Jones is back

2013-10-16 00:00

FANS of fictional everywoman Bridget Jones have taken to social media to express their outrage that novelist Helen Fielding has killed off love interest Mark Darcy in her latest novel.

In Bridget Jones: Mad about The Boy, the 30-something London singleton obsessed with her romantic life, weight and cigarette consumption who captured the zeitgeist of the nineties, has become a 50-something widowed mother of two with a toy-boy.

Fielding’s original novel Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 1996, and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason followed in 1999. The two novels sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

The character’s bumbling appeal carried over into two films starring Renée Zellweger as Bridget, alongside Hugh Grant and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, and spawned a genre of revelatory columns, books, television shows and other movies.

The Darcy figure in Fielding’s novels takes his name from the aloof hero of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That role was played by Firth in a BBC television adaptation that forged his image as a heart-throb with a scene of him emerging from a pond in a white shirt plastered to his chest.

Some fans refused to accept that Fielding could kill off her Darcy, a brooding human-rights lawyer who rescues Bridget from a Thai prison in the second film.

“Darcy hasn’t died. Call me stubborn, fine, but I refuse to accept the new book as Bridget Jones canon,” tweeted Charlotte Runcie@charlotteruncie

Twitter feeds of women’s lifestyle magazines and entertainment websites lit up with gossip, advice and the v. bad quantities of cigarettes and Chardonnay needed to digest the news.

Grazia’s Grazia_Live Twitter feed produced a round-up of the best Mr Darcy moments and Harper’s Bazaar UK offered advice to the fictional character on how to use social media for dating and introducing her new boyfriend to her children.

“Don’t update your Facebook status to say you’re widowed. Just don’t. It’s social media gone mad,” the magazine advises.

“Do agree to be set up by friends. Friends of friends are safe territory. Especially if they wear woolly jumpers made by their mums and have the same name as a Jane Austen hero.”

Bridget Jones, who originally sprang from Fielding’s newspaper column in the nineties, also grapples in the new book with the cringe-making challenges of social media. Bridget laments drunken texting, skinny jeans and the fact she has no Twitter followers.

“Do not text when drunk,” Bridget says in an excerpt from the new novel released on Twitter and Facebook in May. “A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or Exocet missile.”

Mad about The Boy is due out this month, in normal book format, as an e-book and an audiobook. It is published by Jonathan Cape. — Reuters.

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