My love affair with chick lit began just over thirteen years ago when I was handed a copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary. It was the year 2000. I was 28. It was spring. And I had just split up with the boy I’d lived with for two years. But new love was in the air.
I cracked open Bridget Jones’s Diary on a camping trip and was gobsmacked to discover my own life splashed across the pages. Not only did I have my very own office scoundrel worming his way into my thoughts, but there were also scandalous workplace instant messaging involved! It was unnerving and wonderful all at the same time. Reading Bridget Jones, not the very bad man I had stupidly grown fond of.
And now, just over thirteen years later, Bridget Jones is not only back with the third book in the series, but just this week two wonderful things happened. First, I watched my own novel, Redesigning Rose, hit number four on an Amazon’s Women’s Fiction, Humour Best Seller’s List. It was just below the Bridget Jones sequel, Mad About the Boy. I almost fainted from the shock and couldn’t believe I shared a Top Five spot with one of my inspirations to write. (Thank you eReader News Today!)
I feel like I’ve come full circle. Now if only I can stay within the lines!
Meeting Helen Fielding was incredible. She’s so lovely and warm and so very, very funny. Kathryn, my BFF, SIL, and co-founder of Novel Escapes, and I wanted to put her in our pockets and take her home with us. I would have settled for sitting down and sharing a bottle or two of Pino Grigio. I might have gone a bit fan-girl when I gushed about my life while reading the first Bridget Jones and thanked her for inspiring me to write.
Back when I first read Bridget Jones’s Diary, I was amazed by how relatable the novel was. Like Bridget, I was single, I drank, I smoked, and I swore like a sailor (although not on the same level as Shaz!) I still am some of these things, although I’m married now and quit the smokes. I had insecurities. I was approaching thirty with no man in sight – well, there was a man. My very own Daniel Cleaver. But that’s another story. Or maybe not as Fielding managed to portray my life at the time quite accurately. I do like to think Bridget Jones’s Diary made me smarter regarding this very bad man.
Reading the book was validating on so many levels. My insecurities. My fears. My love life. My friends. Even my alcohol intake was all in check. And it was all very amusing to read. I laughed at every situation, and I knew my own shenanigans weren’t far off the mark. I wasn’t alone in the crazy single world I inhabited and that was astounding.
I’m just over halfway through the sequel, Mad About the Boy, and I’m loving it so far. It’s more mature, but still oh-so-very funny, and I’ve guffawed and giggled my way through. But I’ve also chocked up from time to time and have had to take a few deep breaths. Bravo, Helen Fielding, Bravo. This is a brave book and you’ve written something wonderful and true to life with all it’s unplanned misfortunes, misadventures, and things gone awry. You mentioned these at the event, and you portray one’s “life’s plan” going to pot ever so eloquently in Mad About the Boy. Thank you for the initial inspiration, and for continuing to inspire me with this wonderful sequel.