It’s a sad time for chick lit fans, especially those enamored with arguably the most beloved heroine in the genre: Bridget Jones. The first two novels are iconic and basically define chick lit. Everyone knows Bridget Jones, millions love her and her story, and so many people have been rooting for her for years and have been excitedly gearing up for the third book in the series, due out next month. Then an article ran in The Sunday Times yesterday, and everything changed.
This is when the spoilers start, so if you haven’t heard the news and are still blissfully waiting to read Mad About the Boy, then stop right here. If you’ve heard already or want to know, here we go…
Mark Darcy is dead. Yes, that’s right. Bridget’s love interest, happily-ever-after, husband is gone. And Bridget is single again at fifty one years old. That’s how the new book kicks off. Why oh why did author Helen Fielding do this? Why, why, why? If she wanted to break them up, then okay. Divorce them, or separate them, or reveal that Darcy is gay… Anything but kill him off! Bridget and Darcy have two kids together, so she’s raising them alone while trying to date again. Maybe Fielding wanted to explore being single at an older age and for different reasons. But this is not the story to do that. Write a completely new story with new characters and a widowed heroine at the forefront. But don’t write this for Bridget. It’s just wrong.
And here’s why: Now the preceding two novels are ruined. Who is going to read those knowing that Darcy dies? That puts a damper on those stories because how can anyone be happy for Bridget reading those books knowing what will happen? Plus, chick lit is an upbeat genre. People don’t want read it to be depressed. And let’s face it… Darcy’s death is depressing. Poor Bridget. The poor children. Poor Darcy! It’s just awful. No one opens chick lit wanting to read any of that.
So, that brings up an interesting question… Is the new Bridget Jones novel chick lit? Or has Fielding veered off into women’s fiction of the more serious variety? Is it possible that Fielding has succumbed to the awful trend in publishing now? You know the one where any kind of women’s fiction has to be riddled with depressing subjects (divorce, death, cancer, etc.) for a publisher to jump on board. Believe me, I get it. That stuff is real life. But real life is also happy and full of love, and a lot of people do get the fairytale, the happily ever after. And that is the heart of chick lit. If readers want to be saddened, not entertained, then chick lit is not the genre to read.
Or even worse, did Fielding do this for shock value and as a publicity stunt? It’s quite horrifying that not only Fielding, but her entire team think killing off Darcy is a good idea and a good direction for Bridget’s story. But why, after all these years, ruin what Bridget’s fans love so much? It’s mindboggling.
What do you think? Are you outraged? Will you still read Mad About the Boy or are you going to ignore its existence and pretend Bridget and Darcy are still together? In remembrance of Darcy, share your favorite scenes, what you love the most about him, and what you love about his relationship with Bridget.