Monday 13 May 2013 3 p.m. Just back from newsagent’s with new Grazia magazine. Realize whole of my style is outdated and wrong and must wear skinny jeans, ballet pumps and shirt buttoned up to the collar, and blazer for school run plus enormous handbag and sunglasses in manner of celebrity at airport. Gaah! Is time to pick up Billy and Mabel.
Tuesday 14 May 2013 1 p.m. Just nipped to Oxford Street, delighted to find that Mango, Topshop, Oasis, Cos, Zara, Aldo, etc. have all read the same edition of Grazia as me! Looking at the real-life clothes after so long looking at the websites was almost like seeing film stars in real life after seeing them in magazines. Now have full celebrity-at-airport outfit comprising skinny jeans, ballet pumps, shirt, blazer and sunglasses though not the – perhaps requisite – enormous overpriced handbag.
observations: Two big things happened in the world of literature yesterday: the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Alice Munro, and the new Bridget Jones book was published. I can only cover one item a day on the blog so an important choice had to be made. It was not a difficult decision.
Bridget Jones has long been a favourite, and has featured twice before on the blog. Round here she is admired for being hilariously funny, but also given credit for showing a satirical but realistic picture of modern life. The wild Clothes in Books claim is that the first two Bridget Jones books are a House of Mirth for modern times. And for another take on what dismissive people get wrong about the Fielding oeuvre, take a look at this excellent article.
All I hoped for from Mad About the Boy was a reminder of the glory days, a book to make me think what it was like to stand in a bookshop in 1996, reading Bridget’s first entries open-mouthed, and immediately buying a full-price hardback. Many crimes were committed in her name, but very few bandwagon chicklit or romcom books came anywhere close to the surprising honesty of that book – my other claim is that if the world disappeared overnight, you could recreate the 1980s and 1990s in the UK from the Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones books.
The new book – well, as everyone knows, Mark Darcy is dead, Bridget is a widow with two young children. The story is just fine: a bit patchy, but very readable, very funny and has a good strong (if slightly predictable) plot. In terms of entertainment value, it’s better than most books you’ll read in a year. Fielding is very good on parents and children, and on bereavement, and on combining sadness and reality with absurd comic situations. The jokes are as good as ever – I love the neighbour mother who throws her children’s electronic devices in the bin and then yells ‘And don’t you dare touch that dustbin or I shall enter you in the HUNGER GAMES.’ Also the description of the toyboy as a Callow Gigolo. Helen Fielding will never be given the Nobel Prize for Literature, but she doesn’t half cheer life up.
There was a preview element concerning the skinny jeans problem in this entry last week.