Tag Archives: London

The Monday Book: Bridget Jones – Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – Helen Fielding

 

Regular readers will know that I (Jack) tend to read more non-fiction than fiction, but I do make exceptions. So when ‘Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy’ slid into the shop, I made one of these exceptions.

My introduction to ‘Bridge’ was through the movies of the first two books in Fielding’s series, which led to me reading them as well. And enjoying them.

This latest addition is very much in the same style as the previous ones and I agree with many reviewers that Fielding really does have a knack for capturing a place and a life-style. The life-style is that of engaging and fashionable 30 to 40 year olds and the place is modern day London.

My problem is that I’ve always hated London – actually, I’m not that keen on any big cities, but London is right at the bottom of places where I’d like to live! So it’s meant as a compliment that I’ve enjoyed all the ‘Bridge’ books despite their setting.

I could say the same for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ as well as ‘About a Boy’ – also about the same kind of social group and in the same setting. Maybe there really is getting to be a specific genre that we need to create a special shelf for in the bookstore: Trendy 30-somethings in the Big City. We could title it ‘Cheers’ or ‘Friends’ – – –

Seriously, though – I did enjoy ‘Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy’ as poor Bridge dealt with being a widow with two small children, the guilt of wanting a new companion, school events, life on Twitter, and the inevitable daily catastrophes. I particularly liked Fielding’s cheeky inclusion of Bridge’s negotiations with a movie company over her updating of ‘Hedda Gabbler’ by Anton Checkov (yes – Gabbler with two ‘B’s and, yes, Anton Checkov!). Fielding’s writing is just short of madcap, and paints word pictures one can’t forget.

Two glasses of sparking Evian Water up for ‘Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy!’

 

 

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The Monday Book: A STREET CAT NAMED BOB by James Bowen

bobOf course I was going to love this book, because 1) it’s about a cat and 2) it’s an insider’s ethnographic account of a lifestyle most people don’t experience but think we know a lot about. I like almost any book that tells a story about a lifestyle I won’t experience naturally, so long as it’s done without anger or proselytizing. This book did not disappoint on its promise to deliver my two favorite types of non-fiction in one read…..

As an added bonus, Bowen has a nice turn of phrase; he well-read and puns every once in awhile in a fun way (like the title). He also has a great story to tell: how he found Bob on the streets of London, nursed him back to health, and realized he needed to be a responsible adult because he loved something that needed him.

Pretty straightforward things follow. Bowen gets off drugs, takes a job, ups his musicianship game, and sorts out a few loose ends in his life to do with relationships. One kind of expects these, and his simple explanatory prose in their telling made them accessible for those who don’t engage life in the same way. As in this quote:

“I don’t know why, but people seem to be fascinated to learn how some members of society fall through the cracks. I think it’s partly that feeling that… it could happen to anyone. But I think it also makes people feel better about their own lives. It makes them think, ‘Well, I may think my life is bad, but it could be worse, I could be that poor sod.’ ”

But the story doesn’t end with “happily ever after” once Bowen is clean; the things that happen AFTER his re-entry to adulthood (more or less) are as compelling as his cat-induced act clean-up; I was particularly taken with Bowen’s stories of getting moved around because of Bob jealousy from other Big Issue sellers, and also the do-gooder who pretty much insists she is going to take his cat away from him, for his own good- which is a great ending story in a book about how this cat saved his human’s life.

Throughout the story, Bob runs a silent yet larger than life orange character whose personality drives the narrative. A couple of times I swear I felt Bob’s fur brush against me as I read.

A happy book without being sentimental – read it on the beach, read it for a sociology class; it fits in both.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, reading, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch