“Oh, yes, I love to read.” – Four Bookworms Who Made It Okay to Be One

Posted by Sarah

I am a full-fledged bookworm, and I am proud of it. I’m that person who will never leave home without her current read and keeps a notebook that holds an ever-expanding reading list with her at all times. One of my favorite hobbies is collecting old paperbacks from the ‘50s and ‘60s (anything from dime-store pulp to things like The Feminine Mystique thrown in for good measure). The majority of my Friday nights until I moved to New York City for college were spent at Borders bookstore when Borders was still a glorious thing, either hanging out with friends or setting up camp with one of my parents in the café, equipped with a stack of books I wanted to read and a coffee to fuel me (I still have my Borders Rewards card in my wallet and refuse to throw it out. My loyalty runs deep, despite my second home becoming a DSW). Even now, my days off are spent in my favorite bookstores, throwing my money at books faster than I can read them.

I have avid readers for parents, so it was inevitable that I would pick up the habit early. And maybe it’s because I was surrounded by readers my whole life that I never find my habit weird until someone comments on it (and someone ALWAYS comments on it; if I had a dollar for every time I was reading in my favorite coffee shop and another regular asks me how I go through books so quickly…). But seeing bookworms in movies and on TV as a kid definitely did its part to normalize my insatiable appetite for books. In those impressionable years, I met strong female characters who were smart and well read and saw a love of reading as an asset rather than some sort of odd hindrance. I saw girls my age—at the time, anyway—reading far above their grade level, and women who treasured the pages that fell through their fingers. And in environments where an overt love of books is somehow a mark against you, the knowledge that these characters exist goes a long way.

The four bookworms I’ve included here are the ones who had the biggest influence on me as I grew up, the ones that helped me embrace that label and wear it proudly. And why shouldn’t it be worn proudly? “Bookworm” is not a dirty word and should not be treated as such (in fact, my wonderful writing partner Maggie and I use “Bookworm” as a term of endearment with each other. I guess I just like reclaiming things). So here’s to the written word, the stories put on the page, and the ones who devour each tale—in the real world and in fictional places—and are still hungry for more. We’re super cool, I promise.

Belle

I can think of no better way to start than with the first bookworm I remember seeing on screen. Like most little girls growing up, I was into the Disney princesses. But Belle was always MY princess, even before I started relating to her bookworm tendencies. In order to make the start of first grade less terrifying, I remember carrying around a puppet (and I use the term loosely; all you could really do with it was let it sit on your hand, because for some reason these people thought rubber was a good thing to make a puppet with) of Belle in her yellow gown. It made my hand ridiculously sweaty, but at least I had my princess with me.

Then I started reading all over the place, and I got her on a different level entirely. Being so enthusiastic to tell anyone about the spectacular story you just read? Check. Spending most of your free time in the local bookstore? Check. (You have no idea how much I’ve wanted to ride one of those shelf-long ladders the way she does, before the crushing reality sets in that I am not, in fact, living in a cartoon.) The straight up bliss over being gifted a book? Check. That scene where she’s walking through town with her nose in a book, zero attention paid to her surroundings? I feel that so hard. Once during my Freshman year of high school, I was so engrossed in Jodi Picoult’s The Pact while I was at the lunch table that I was completely oblivious to the fist fight that broke out directly in front of me. (When the principal called everyone at that table into her office, convinced we had something to do with the fight, that book allowed me to escape the marks on my permanent record that everyone else got because I literally had no idea what was going on until it was basically over. Reading saves the day, you guys.) This holiday season, I ended up watching The Enchanted Christmas special from the late ‘90s because apparently this year was all about childhood nostalgia for me. In it, Belle decides to gift the Beast a homemade storybook for Christmas, because she’s delightful and of course she would. THAT is my princess.

What I really love is that in spite of everyone in her town thinking she’s peculiar because she likes books—WHY IS READING SO PECULIAR THAT YOU HAVE TO SING ABOUT IT, YOU JAGS—she refuses to compromise herself. Honestly though, did I miss something here? Why does this automatically make her a pariah in her community? Also, between literally everyone in town except the bookseller and her dad writing Belle off because she likes to take her imagination on a journey every now and then, and Gaston trying to win her heart by shitting all over what she loves best (by saying, and I quote, “It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas, and thinking…” Okay, Maximum Douche Level achieved not even ten minutes into the movie, good job, thank you for playing), I want to know how that bookseller is still in business. Because she doesn’t buy those books; she borrows them. Where is your money coming from, sir?

Regardless, even though Belle questions—for a fleeting moment—whether her love of books is odd, her contentment in her habits is a testament to staying true to yourself. She won’t stop being excited about the stories she reads, she won’t stop reading them like mad, and she won’t stop being transported to wonderful places through the pages. That was a pretty cool thing to see at such a young age, and it’s a pretty cool thing to revisit as an adult. I can’t tell you how excited I am for the live action take on this in March but until then, if you want to read, be like Belle and read your heart out.

Matilda Wormwood

Let me refer to my notes to sum up why Matilda’s on my list: “She’s reading Moby Dick and she’s fucking six.” Part of me feels like I could just leave it at that. (I won’t…but I could.) Because make no mistake: Matilda’s reading habits are goals. In her few short years, she’s already tackled Moby Dick multiple times (I’m sure there are people out there, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s actually read that thing all the way through), and could read Charles Dickens every day for fun. She taught herself more than I think I’ve learned in my lifetime—and I’m working on a second Masters degree—by spending her days in the library and dragging a wagon full of books home with her. Seriously, she can multiply crazy large numbers in her head and casually whip out facts about how fast a mouse’s heart beats, all because of the books she’s read. This kid is amazing.

And no doubt Matilda read in part as an escape; her brother is horrible, her parents neglect her except to scold her for being bookish and smart, and I’m pretty sure the way the Trunchbull runs that school is so many shades of illegal. She deserves to have her stories, and the best stories take you out of your surroundings and drop you into another place. This is a child who got everything you possibly can out of reading before ever hitting double digits. For every math and science book that served as her education, there was a novel and a world for her to get lost in, and a beauty within the lines that comforted her. If there was ever a character to show kids how wonderful reading can be, she was it.

So you’ve got this reading prodigy, which is great, but what makes Matilda truly amazing in that regard is the adult who wholeheartedly appreciates and encourages that love of reading and that quest for knowledge. Enter Miss Honey, who is the kind of adult every book-loving kid should have in their life. In a sea of people who don’t appreciate Matilda for the delightfully intelligent child she is, Miss Honey is the one who will slip a copy of The Wind in the Willows to Matilda when her parents aren’t looking, and the one who wants to hear about everything she learns during her time in the library. Fostering a love of books in children is definitely something to be praised, don’t get me wrong. But to also show at least one other person who appreciates that gift for what it is? That is everything. When you’re faced with environments where voracious reading gets you made fun of, the knowledge that someone values that part of you as much as you do makes a world of difference.

Plus, she had really awesome powers that I wish were an actual thing you could acquire (although, perhaps without the prerequisite of terrible parents). If I could pour cereal with my mind, it would make my life so much easier.

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How Bridget Jones’s Baby Reminded Me That I Like Her, Just As She Is

Posted by Sage

As far as I’m concerned, Fielding had a duty to write a laugh-out-loud book about a female protagonist who’s in her 50s and fumbling realistically in a new stage of her life. I’m 30 and I hardly ever feel like I know what I’m doing. And I doubt that will change much in 20 years. Mid-life crisis Bridget is my future, or at least more likely than the standard Earth Mother or disenchanted adulteress. There is a gaping space for her in popular literature; and when I first heard about the sequel, I secretly hoped for a Bridget story so irresistible that the gang would come back together for movie #3.

So, back in 2013, I was sent a complimentary copy of the most recent Bridget Jones novel, Mad About the Boy. I read it. And then I reviewed it, to save anyone else who had an affection for the British singleton from doing so themselves. I am not being at all dramatic when I say that I hated every moment of it. It was a tone-deaf insult to everything I’d ever loved about the first two books and about their leading lady in general. Pushing aside for the moment that writer Helen Fielding MURDERED MARK FITZWILLIAM DARCY, Mad About the Boy celebrated a nasty, ignorant Bridget Jones who ignored her children, exhibited little self respect, and showed a shocking lack of growth for a character who’s tripped over as many things as she has. So when it became apparent that they really WERE going forward with a third Bridget movie, I was not the excited, nostalgic fan the marketing team was probably hoping for.

With trepidation comes the opportunity for a great and welcome surprise. Guys, Bridget Jones’s Baby is so god damn wonderful. I’m glad those Suicide Squad reddit fanboys didn’t succeed in their moronic efforts to shut down Rotten Tomatoes, because I probably wouldn’t have bought a ticket for this movie without that Certified Fresh rating.

bridget-emma

Source: galahaed

Source: galahaed

The first place the production went right was in retconning Mad About the Boy completely. If there’s a script for that adaptation lying around somewhere, I hereby give Hugh Grant full Head Over Feels authority to use it to light a fire in one of his country homes. Anyway, MARK DARCY LIVES. And he’s STILL FINE. Bridget Jones’s Baby is loosely based on some of Fielding’s newspaper columns, but introduces a new main character in Jack Qwant, an American matchmaking millionaire played by post-Derek Shepherd Patrick Dempsey and the second possible father for Bridge’s unborn child. Better than all of that, Bridget is the girl I remember, but with an actual emotional memory.

fuck-off-2

Source: boothseeley

Source: boothseeley

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“Okay?” “Okay.” – A Catalog of our The Fault In Our Stars Feels.

Posted by Kim

This weekend, along with most of America, Sage and I went to see the movie adaptation of John Green’s best-selling YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars.  Some articles that I won’t deign to link to may tell us that we should be embarrassed to flock to a novel/movie aimed at teenagers.  Me?  I say WHO CARES?  Also, The Fault In Our Stars is an intelligent respite in a summer movie landscape filled with explosions, superheroes in middling sequels, and lowbrow comedies filled with fart jokes.  I think we as a movie going public are STARVING for films that make us FEEL things, which is WHY TFIOS beat a Tom Cruise movie at the box office this weekend.

TFIOS is so much more than a movie about kids with cancer.  It’s a movie about life and acceptance of what comes your way.  It’s a story about parents and children and the unbreakable bond between them.  It’s a story about first love and how it changes you.  But at its core, it is a movie about not being afraid of opening yourself to love…even if that love devastates you, because at least you HAD it.  As Gus memorably says in the film, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you”.  Obviously…that is only a theme teenagers need to hear.  *eye roll*

There’s no way I can do a straight up review of this film or one of our classic lists of all the times we overreacted…because basically this entire movie was one big overreaction.  So instead, let’s take a look at some of the characters and how they made us feel, as well as flail-worthy moments, shall we?  Keep the tissues handy!

Augustus Waters

Many of the reviews I have read have called Augustus a gender-flipped Manic Pixie Dream Girl type.  Let’s get this out-of-the-way: OF COURSE he is.  What is WRONG with that? For every 50 MPDGs, there is ONE Manic Pixie Dream DUDE and us ladies deserve a little wish-fulfillment, don’t we?  And BOY does Augustus Waters in the form of Ansel Elgort fulfill some wishes.  I could say that I didn’t sit through most of the movie longing for someone to unabashedly and openly LOVE me the way Gus loves Hazel.  I could say that.  But I would be lying.

Don’t get me wrong.  Gus comes off a little creepy at first, especially in the way he unnervingly stares at Hazel all through the support group meeting (which Shailene Woodley plays the “WTF do you want” face PERFECTLY).  It’s a testament to both the character and Elgort’s incredibly assured performance that we forget this creepiness within minutes.  Gus isn’t creepy…he’s COCKY and knows exactly what he wants and goes after it.  He is full of life and passion for making the most out of every moment.  He says what he is thinking.  Hazel is never NOT certain that she is the one he wants (even if at first she is not certain she wants HIM…he never waivers) .  It’s thisclose to being too much.  But it’s not too much.  It’s everything. (Basically…he’s this generation’s Lloyd Dobler, okay?)

Would that we had more of that in real life, minus the super creepy staring.

Sure this speech is directly lifted from the novel, but hearing it said by a ridiculously charming actor is an entirely different matter.  I am pretty sure I heard our entire theatre let out a collective sigh.

“I’m in love with you and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

GO TO YOUR ROOM JOHN GREEN.  GO TO YOUR ROOM AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID TO GIRLS EVERYWHERE AND THE GUYS WHO WILL NEVER LIVE UP TO THIS.  You can compare notes with Cameron Crowe.

Now…if Gus remained this way throughout the entire movie, I would COMPLETELY agree that Gus is the Manic Pixie Dream Guy and his only purpose in the movie is to bring Hazel out of her shell and show her just how great life can be.  But he doesn’t.  His cancer comes back and we see that all the bravado and swagger was a front.  Sure he’s still ridiculously eloquent, but we also see his anger and his fear throughout the second half of the movie, and it’s devastating.  While the movie does blessedly lessen the complete decline of Gus into a shadow of himself (the book was AGONY because the Gus we fell in love with essentially disappeared), it does show him breaking down into the scared kid that was always lurking beneath the surface.  Now it’s Hazel’s turn to make Gus feel like he was important and that he MATTERED…and if he only mattered to her, that should be ENOUGH.  It’s a fantastic role reversal.

Excuse me while I go sob in a corner again.

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No, J.K. Rowling. Just…No.

A Very Potter Musical Draco Bitches Trying to Ruin

– Posted by Sage

Filthy rich and super bored? Why not ignite a ship war in your own fandom?

We love Jo Rowling to pieces, obviously. She’s the mother of our favorite YA series of all time – a series which we’re devoting a huge chunk of Head Over Feels to this spring as we revisit all seven novels and films. But, if it’s not too much trouble, we’d appreciate it if she’d stop retconning her books.

The world that she created clearly extends past the final page of Deathly Hallows, and we can appreciate the little tidbits she gives us on our characters’ lives post-Voldy. However, let’s agree to draw the line at firebombing plots and characters as they exist (EXIST – PRESENT TENSE) in the HP series. Ron and Hermione shouldn’t have ended up together? What is this nonsense?

Big Bang Theory Muggles

Jo recently (as all HP fans know) called the endgame pairing of Ron and Hermione “wish fulfillment,” and her “clinging to the plot as [she] first imagined it.” Beyond that, she dared to suggest that Hermione should have ended up with Harry – a scenario that the vast majority of Potterheads reject out of hand. Because it’s absurd.

Fred and George That's Rubbish

Despite my first instinct to just completely forget that this interview ever happened, I find myself needing to defend one of my literary OTPs – against its own creator. Sigh. A blogger’s work is never done. So, in support of Romione, here are 6 reasons that J.K. Rowling doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

1. Because Harry Should Get to Keep His One Platonic Girl Friend

Ron Harry Hermione Cockblock

After I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers UK, I texted Kim to say that I’d given a dirty look to a video interview with HP screenwriter Steve Kloves. For the both of us. Kloves always upped the love triangle quotient between the holy trio, adding and subtracting from the source material as he needed, where there never really was a question about Harry and Hermione’s platonic friendship. With Harry’s short-lived relationship with Cho Chang and long-term will-they-won’t-they with Ginny Weasley (who was also shafted in the movies per Kloves’ agenda), Hermione was the only girl his own age with whom Harry shared a non-romantic, even sisterly bond. Doesn’t our hero deserve a female friend? Can’t he have one relationship with a girl where support and unconditional love trump awkward crushing?

2. Because Ginny Weasley Was Only a Mary Sue in the Movies

Emilia Clarke They're My Babies

Book Ginny started as a little girl with a fixation on her big brother’s famous friend. Then she grew up to be a fierce ginger feminist. A key member of Dumbledore’s Army, an all-star Quidditch player, and an “I don’t give a damn about my reputation” serial dater, book Ginny was the kind of girl you don’t usually find in YA lit. It was the movies that turned her into a clingy little afterthought. I’ll never forgive them for ruining Harry and Ginny’s first kiss, which actually takes place in the Gryffindor Common Room – in front of errrrrybody – after Ginny singlehandedly wins the Quidditch Cup playing a position that’s not even hers. Book Ginny and Harry made sense – they’re both brave and a little rash. And in true clueless boy fashion, Harry hadn’t noticed her until she’d ostensibly moved on from him. If Harry ends up with Hermione, what of Ginevra? My gut tells me she’d either marry Neville Longbottom – which is fine with me – or date around forever and never commit to anyone because she’s Ginny Effing Weasley and she doesn’t need a man. Still, the reality is that Harry and Ginny is canon and deserves to remain that way.

3. Because Ron and Hermione Are Perfect and Adorable and Have Loved Each Other Since They Were 11 Years Old

Ron and Hermione Cute

From the way Ron and Hermione gave each other a hard time in Sorcerer’s Stone, it was clear that puppy love was brewing between those two. So, Hermione was smarter than Ronald – book smarter. So what? Does that discount the hours he spent by her petrified form in Chamber of Secrets? Or his jealous destruction of his Victor Krum action figure in Goblet of Fire? Or the dozens of times he bravely put himself on the line to protect his friends and family? Jo’s disavowal of Ron/Hermione smacks of contempt for that character, and I’m not okay with it.

To imply that there’s some kind of huge gap between them or that Hermione “settled” for Ron is to discount his contributions to the canon and, you know, the WIZARDING WORLD AT LARGE. We’d all be Death Eaters if it weren’t for Ron Weasley. Have some respect.

Plus, it was their differences that made Ron and Hermione right for one another. She needed to “sort our her priorities,” as baby Ron once said, and he needed to be challenged. Hermione always had deep feelings for Ron – let’s not forget what her love potion smelled like – he wasn’t just conveniently nearby. She wasn’t doing him a favor. Also, I’m not sure what good it does for anyone to be matched with their own twin. (Trust me, I happened upon a Fred/George fic once and I’ll never be the same again.) Ron and Hermione will continue to bicker, but they’ll also never be boring.

Sherlock That's Sexier

4. Because It’s Not Like Ron and Harry Were The Only Choices Available to Hermione Granger, The Brightest Witch of Her Age

Hagrid Should Not have Said That

A. Let’s trust Hermione to choose her own life partner. I don’t think she’d get that wrong.

B. If Ron was the wrong choice, then why is Harry the right one? I suppose Hermione only exists to be wifed up to one of the two male leads.

5. Because It’s Star Wars, and Leia Ends Up with Han, Not Luke

Princess Leia I don't know what you're talking about

Harry is Luke, Hermione is Leia, and Ron is Han. Everyone knows this to be true. And Luke and Leia can’t get married because they’re related, and their babies would look like Ewoks. Case closed.

6. BECAUSE YOU SAID SO.

Orange is the New Black Don't Be fucking with Harry Potter

Two days ago and without context, John Green tweeted, “Books belong to their readers.” J.K. Rowling may hold the copyrights, but she now shares this work with the millions of adults and children all over the world who have rapturously read and re-read every word. What is the point of backtracking on a storyline that these readers have dissected and swooned over and commemorated with piles and piles of fan art? And even if you ARE a Harry/Hermione shipper (a mindset I will never understand), then you’ve boarded a non-canon ship and surely, after all this time, must be at peace with that. Rowling has to understand that she wields serious power here and that it’s not best used to casually write off fandom truths that we hold sacred.

And now that I’ve said my piece, I will return to my bubble, where Ron and Hermione are currently living happily ever after. So there.

Pages Read: 386. Regrets: Thousands. – Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy Review

Silver Linings Playbook What the Fuck

Posted by Sage

There’s that special kind of resentment that’s bred by the neglect or outright destruction of something you once loved by its own creator. And, in the case of Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, the unfortunate added blow of proving the haters right. And they weren’t always. Those who had never bothered to read the original Bridget Jones’s Diary would have had you believe that it was a worthless piece of popular writing, just because the main character was a woman with a lot of flaws or because it ended in a kiss or because it could be easily read in one afternoon. But it became a phenomenon for a reason. Bridget was a heroine like we hadn’t seen before. She wasn’t like so many others, who are practically perfect aside from their lack of a man, a situation that’s tidily wrapped up by the last page; or shrinking violets who let their insecurities rule their lives. We didn’t identify with Bridget because she meticulously monitored (and bemoaned) her fluctuating weight. We identified with her because she was also a staunch friend, a loving daughter, and perfectly capable of dropping even hot piece Daniel Cleaver like a hot potato when he treated her badly.

Damn, England, what happened?

In college, I felt so tied to Bridget and her friends that I’d return to the first book every summer break and even built a semester’s worth of Independent Study credits around Helen Fielding’s modern take on Pride and Prejudice. And it is, fundamentally, a thematically faithful reboot. Elizabeth Bennett worshipers can be tempted to put her on too high a pedestal and forget all about her shortcomings. Sure, she’s the Bennett sister you’d most want to hang with, but Darcy’s sensibilities are initially offended by her impudent behavior. They are also, ultimately, what draw him to her.

Pride and Prejudice Darcy's Proposal

…Okay.

And it’s the same with Mark and Bridget. Colin Firth was the only choice to play “Top Barrister” Mark Darcy in the movies not just because Mark’s character was based on his own interpretation of Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC miniseries (meta, meta, meta, metaaaa), but because he – in many cases, without words – portrayed Mark’s helpless attraction to Bridget’s big mouth and big heart. She was fun; she was unreserved. She represented qualities that didn’t seem to be valued much in his profession or his picture-perfect, posh family. In other words, we bought it.

Mad About the Boy is such a shameful rewrite of Bridget’s history; I often caught myself scowling while I read it on the train. (The better to fit in with my fellow morning commuters.) And what potential it had. As far as I’m concerned, Fielding had a duty to write a laugh-out-loud book about a female protagonist who’s in her 50s and fumbling realistically in a new stage of her life. I’m 30 and I hardly ever feel like I know what I’m doing. And I doubt that will change much in 20 years. Mid-life crisis Bridget is my future, or at least more likely than the standard Earth Mother or disenchanted adulteress. There is a gaping space for her in popular literature; and when I first heard about the sequel, I secretly hoped for a Bridget story so irresistible that the gang would come back together for movie #3.

Bridget Jones Smoking Drinking

Instead, she MURDERED Mark Darcy. And everything went to shit. What was the point of spending two books reinforcing Mark and Bridget’s soulmate status and then tearing the whole thing down? God help us all if 50-year-old women are only interesting when they’re having flirty text conversations about farts (no, really) with jailbait fuck-buddies and trying desperately to hide their hangovers from their children. If Fielding wanted to write a book about a single woman of a certain age, why not just make a new one up? You can do that, you know. And she may as well have, because I didn’t recognize this Bridget at all. The Bridge I knew was well-intentioned, but clumsy. This one is flighty and obsessed. When she notices her children at all, she’s resenting them for throwing the babysitter wrench into her social plans. She’s now a screenwriter, which I would have bought if she’s been writing a project at all similar to her (it seems) life-full of personal diaries. But no no, instead, Bridget is writing an adaptation of Hedda Gabler. Impressive, right? It would be, if for 75% of the book, she didn’t think that the original was written by Anton Chekov. (“Oh, fuck. Just googled Hedda Gabbler and it IS by Henrik Ibsen and spelt with one b…”) Her dad is dead, so she’s now free to either ignore or make fun of her mother. (“She started to gabble, as she always does when I say I have to go.”) Her once cute and sassy friends are now depressing; no one has anything better to talk about than the Match.com date who wants to pee on her. And why exile Shazzer to LA? Because if she were there, she’d tell everyone to get their fucking lives the fuck together right the fuck now and there’d be no book to read.

We get reminiscences of Mark and Bridget’s life together before emotional terrorist Helen Fielding killed him with a road-side bomb. They were happy, and Bridget felt understandably lost after his death. At the same time, the years she got to spend with someone who encouraged her to feel confident and loved obviously meant nothing. I was under the impression that being with Mark would make Bridget BETTER (and vice versa), but she emerged from that relationship as a Real Housewife of Great Britain. Killing Darcy was bad, but this is like doing the Cha-Cha Slide on his grave.

Overall, the book is schizophrenic and aimless. Is it about Bridget grieving for Mark? It should have been. The only time my emotions were remotely stirred by this book was when Bridget wrote a cathartic letter to her dead husband. (“How is Billy ever going to understand how to be a man without his father? And Mabel? They don’t have a dad. They don’t know you.”) Is it about her “getting her groove back,” if you’ll forgive me? Most of the pages are dedicated to her psuedo-relationship with a 30-year-old she met on Twitter, and allowing his texting frequency to dictate her self-worth. (Please don’t get me started on Fielding’s complete ignorance of Twitter – how does Bridget amass hundreds of followers in days despite never hashtagging anything or following anyone and refusing to replace the egg-y avatar? #nerdrage) It’s definitely not about her children, who are just props and a device to put Bridget in the path of obnoxiously perfect classroom moms who, again, make her feel inadequate. (It’s a good thing that more time isn’t devoted to them, as I’m not sure the author has ever met a child. “Was you born in de Victorian Times?” Bridget’s five-year-old, asks her. Who. Talks. Like. This.) The screenwriting subplot is befuddling. Daniel Cleaver shows up (hurray!) as the kids’ godfather and now a close compatriot of the Darcy family. It would have been nice to see more of him, especially with the history that he has with Bridget as a love interest and a friend, but Fielding lands him in rehab at the end of the book with no closure in sight.

Bridget Jones Daniel Cleaver

The situation with the endgame love interest is bewildering. Mr. Wallaker (described lazily as “Daniel Craig”) is a gym teacher or some such nonsense at the kids’ school who treats Bridget like an actual insect. He sneers continuously at her (judging her clothes, her driving, her parenting) right up until they moment he inexplicably kisses her. She’s so desperate for approval from everyone and anyone. I just want to reach into this book and SHAKE HER. Darcy was reserved, but open-minded. Mr. Wallaker is just downright mean, and it’s endlessly depressing that Bridget is so keen to be with him now mainly because she just wants someone to tell her what to DO.

We deserve better than this. BRIDGET deserves better. Did anyone else brave Mad About the Boy? I’m dying to know what you thought.