Sunday, 15 September 2013
Helen Fielding (Author of Bridget Jones Novels) talks about 'Mad About the Boy' with Sue Macgregor Primrose Hill 10th October Cecil Sharp House
Please click the following link for details of the event. Tickets are selling out fast...
Bridget Jones Event
In the meantime please find an article which positions Helen as a contemporary woman writer - a writer of 'social history of a kind...registering all the concerns of the day that don't get onto the radar elsewhere
By Melanie McDonagh
Everywoman is back, aka Bridget Jones, the woman in whom most women of her age recognise a little bit of themselves. Or, when it comes to the self-doubt and the drink, make that quite a bit of myself. There's to be a new novel, Mad About the Boy, from Bridget's creator Helen Fielding in October.
The Author, speaking on Womens Hour, lets it be known that Bridget is still trying to give up drink and fags and is still on a diet. "She's trying a bit harder, and is a bit more successful, but she never really going to change." Well, of course. A successful, self-confident Bridget would miss the entire point of her.
I would be surprised, myself, if it finds a single male reader, any more than the last books did, though astute men may like to read the diaries in an anthropological spirit, as an insight into aspects of the female psyche.
And naturally the new BJ moved into social media as a fresh source of angst; counting Twitter followers is the new calorie-counting. She notes texting while drunk as a contemporary pitfall.
As she's observed, social media makes every aspic of life that bit more complicated, certainly for women who didn't grow up with it. She herself has aged - she's in her forties, not her thirties - so she's the alter ego for older rather than younger women. But that's fine too: someone to represent the fag end of the baby boomers is no bad thing.
So who's the boy Bridget's mad about, people are asking. Well, duh am I the only person to have noticed that BJ did a diary just seven years ago for The Independent, which will be made into a film this year, in which she had a baby boy by Daniel Cleaver, though there was a tricky period when she wasn't quite sure about it's paternity? A Bridget who's had a son isn't really going to be giving emotional houseroom to anyone else, is she?
Having a baby gave scope for shrewd observations about men too: as she was having her episiostomy, D Cleaver was begging the surgeon for...but no, too awful.
She's not the quintessential singleton of old - though she's still on the market - but that gives scope for embodying other issues: Single parenthood and the ol' chestnut, the Work Life Balance, which Helen fielding presumably knows a bit about what with two two children of her own. Thats BJ's role really: to embody feminine anxieties and defuse them by making them funny.
Back in the nineties she tried to be feminist but was hopelessly obsessed with men and fat. We're rather over prescriptive feminism now, but we can rely on BJ to identify other issues, debt and ageing parents maybe, and make them, too, the focus for guilt, self-analysis and pure comedy.
BJ was inspired by Pride and Prejudice on TV. Ad Helen Fielding has something of the Austen capacity to paint on ivory, to make small things seems as large as they loom in real life, though she's less good about money.
And in a funny way, BJ is social history of a kind. You can read her to register all the concerns of the day that don't get onto the radar elsewhere. In 100 years time any historian of the late 20th Century should be reading her for telling period detail: anyone now remember dialling 1471 to find out who's been calling your phone?
In short, she's got few peers in her capacity to write for women, about women. Can't wait for the next one...