It was 11am and I was hanging out of the lounge window, smoking a cigarette. My head was pounding from the consumption of my entire bodyweight in Sambuca shots the night before and my feet were swollen and sore from the ridiculously high heels that I had insisted on wearing, despite knowing that I would only last half an hour in them before I had to take them off. I had make-up smeared down my face, my hair was creating it’s own style and had managed to stick up all over the place at the back and to finish the whole ensemble I was sporting my enormous blue ‘Winnie The Pooh’ dressing gown. Gorgeous. I heard the door open and in walked one of my nine flatmates (I lived in a flat of ten at my university Halls of Residence). He’d been up early and was returning from the gym, as he always did at the weekend. He looked at me, smiled and said:
I laughed and greeted him and we had a nice little conversation before I went back to bed to sleep off the enormous hangover.
My name isn’t Bridget, but when I was at university several accurate comparisons were made between me and Bridget Jones, and the name stuck, almost as a nickname.
I didn’t mind in the slightest – I was a little late to jump on the Bridget bandwagon – but after reading the first book I was hooked. Despite being ten years younger than her at the time of my first encounter, I could relate to her in every way. I was single, smoked and drank too much with my equally ‘Bridget -esque’ friends, wore enormous pants, was dealing with my parents separation, I felt that I was overweight, I was having huge flirtations with my ‘bad guy’ boss at work and I was desperately looking for my Mark D’Arcy. I didn’t know any ‘smug married couples,’ mainly due to my age, but I certainly knew plenty of ‘smug couples’ and I dreaded going to their houses for dinner parties as I always felt like the odd one out. I also related to the endless, mortifyingly embarrassing moments that she experienced – these were (and still are) quite prevalent in my life, but I loved that she always managed to overcome them and land on her feet. Bridget became my idol.
When ‘The Edge Of Reason’ was released I enjoyed it almost much as the first book, which is unusual for me as I sometimes find sequels quite tedious. Yes, it was a little far fetched in certain places, but the same Bridget was there, bumbling her way through her various adventures. I believe that the only acceptable term for how I felt about the ending of the book was ‘squeeeeee.’ I was delighted.
When I heard there was a sequel I was ecstatic. However, a few weeks ago I went to stay at my mother’s house. I’d had a really tough time and the only place that I wanted to be was snoozing on her couch, surrounded by her stinky dogs. We decided to watch a film and chose Bridget Jones’s Diary, which is a favourite of ours – it isn’t as good as the book but they did a great job with adapting it for the big screen. Just as it started my mother said:
“Ooh have you heard? They’ve killed off Mark D’Arcy in the new book!”
I was gutted. Genuinely gutted. The news can only be compared to when my horrible ex-boyfriend bought the new Harry Potter, read it in a day and then handed it to me, saying, “Dumbledore dies at the end…” or watching the last half of Season 5 of Chuck (it broke my heart – they should have finished with Season 4).
I’m not good at dealing with tragedy, either in real-life or in fiction. I like my films, TV shows and books to end in a way that satisfies me, despite knowing rationally that life isn’t like that. I love the fantasy of the ‘happy-ever-after’ and in my mind that was the world in which Bridget lived with Mr D’Arcy. While some have applauded Helen Fielding for being brave enough to approach the plot from this angle, I’m actually a little annoyed at her for destroying this for me.
This is the main issue of my dilemma. Do I read the book (which hasn’t received good reviews at all), deal with the death of Mark D’Arcy and accept the ‘sloaney’ character that she has been repeatedly described as in these reviews, or do I just simply ignore the whole thing? Do I want my memories of Bridget to be completely changed???
Disclaimer: I’m aware that she is a fictional character. Just so you know I’m not insane.
Bridget Jones: Working Title Pictures
Chuck and Sarah: NBC