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3.5 out of 5 stars91
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 January 2004
This is a very fast paced adventure, romance, comedy thriller all rolled into one! It is a page-turner, and as soon as I had picked it up I was hooked and couldn't put it down until I had finished! It made me laugh out loud.. so it was probably was a good thing that I read it in my room, otherwise I might have got some strange looks!! Olivia Joules is not a typical spy, for one thing she has a Very overactive imagination, for example, imagining that the very handsome French playboy, Pierre Ferramo, is Osama Bin Laden bent on the Western World's destruction. So against all this Olivia sets herself against the forces of terror armed only with a hatpin (this proves very useful) and a very special underwired bra (which is very uncomfortable but it's all in aid for a good cause!). But saying this, Helen Fielding manages to make this into a very believable thriller..weaving into the story political situations going on around the world at the moment, while still having the Bridget Jones' wit and comedy. I will not be at all surprised if this book is made into a film and is as big a success as Bridget Jones's Diary!
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on 17 November 2003
i believe the critics have been giving Olivia Joules a pasting. Well, lighten up boys and girls... this book is not taking it's self seriously so perhaps you oughtn't. It is pure escapism: the heroine is delightful, the baddies are all as mad as tea trays, the hero is well, lickable and the bitchy woman...oooh you just want to slap her. I am a voracious reader and i loved this piece of writing. Helen Fielding said she wrote it as a holiday read and that's just what it is.I reckon if you love Bridget you'll love Olivia.
And the film [when & if] will be marvellous.
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on 20 January 2005
I wasn't sure what to expect having read some of the reviews on Fieldings latest book but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It has a heroine who is funny, clumsy, imaginative, intelligent and successful but attracts all the wrong men!!. It's Bridget Jones meets James Bond but with more style and quite addictive. I actually found myself reading this book whenever I could and finished it in a couple of days - in between work.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed Fieldings last book and also spy novels. It's another comical book from Helen Fielding and I look forward to her next.
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on 17 March 2004
Having been a huge fan of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones novels like most of the female population, I was expecting to be disappointed by her new book. For starters the heroine was once again a young single woman with various hang ups about herself and with dreams of a better career,love life etc. There, however the similarity ends. Olivia is a kick-ass heroine and this is basically an adventure novel with the inevitable and, let's be honest much wanted, bit of romance thrown in. I couldn't put this book down, ok it's not going to win any literary awards but it's a great easy-read bit of fun and I enjoyed it.
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on 19 December 2003
What would you get, if you crossed a james bond movie with the humourous aspects of bridget jones diary? The result, is Helen Fieldings new novel, a light fluffy very easy to read novel which is full of dry humour. Very ocasionally a novel comes along which is the equivelent of a good movie, this one manages to do this, with a great plot and some well drawn characters. The cliffhanging aspects of the plot leave the reader wanting more, buy this book its absolutely fantastic. Oh and if you've bought it for someone for christmas, read it first before you wrap it, trust me its well worth it.
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on 11 November 2003
Post Bridget, we've all been anxious to see what's next from Helen Fielding - where would she go? I think we should be thankful we've been offered Olivia Joules instead of the apparently dour northern saga Helen tried writing over the last 3 years. Her new book is light and fun and makes you laugh out loud (cue the strange looks I received on the bus ride home). I can't believe she has weaved a thriller together so successfuly that engages, is a page turner and still has those deft touches of 'girl-dom' that made Bridget so enchanting. Or that she can deal with the definitely not PC subject of Al Quaeda and Bin Laden without causing offence. I read it happily in one sitting, and bought and sent a copy to my sister straight away. She's saving hers for this weekend...
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on 22 January 2015
As popular as the first two were, there could never have been a third Bridget Jones book at the time the first two were new releases. After all, what else was there for her to do? She'd caught her man, so perhaps marriage and kids, but it would have been difficult to make that funny. Think about it: "7.02 a.m. Changed baby's nappy. 7.05 a.m. Changed nappy again. How can something so small create so much waste?" It's amusing, but a year of that would have got very boring very quickly.

It was time for Helen Fielding and her readers to move on. More accurately, in fact, it was time for her to go full circle. Fielding's debut novel, "Cause Celeb" was written in the standard style, without the diary format, although told largely in the first person by a female lead character. So the same style is used for "Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination".

Olivia Joules is a journalist. Unfortunately, she's a journalist with an overactive imagination, which her editor doesn't think is suitable for covering news stories. He feels that she'd be better off covering the launch of a new face cream in Miami, well out of the way of any real news. Whilst she's there, however, she does run into what she thinks is some real news, becoming convinced that an international playboy she meets is Osama Bin Laden in disguise. Even more so when he seems to warn her to stay away from a cruise liner, the Oceans Apart, which is promptly blown to pieces.

Convinced this act was the work of terrorists and even more convinced that Pierre Ferramo, the international playboy in question, was behind it, she sets out to prove her theory. She follows Ferramo around the world, first to Los Angeles and then to Honduras, trying to find out more about him. On the way, everything that happens to her makes her more convinced that she is on the right track and being forced from it, despite all her friends and colleagues telling her she's mad and that it's just her overactive imagination taking charge once more.
Fans of the Bridget Jones diary style of writing might be a little put off at first by the way this is written. Whilst it's a fairly easy readable book, it is a novel rather than a diary, so there's not the same mangling of grammar or the breaks that make it as easy to dip into and put down. However, like Bridget Jones, it is fairly full of current cultural references, so it's very contemporary and has an easy frame of reference.

Unfortunately, it has a feel of being a little rushed. It's as if Fielding herself knew that she had to change tack from Bridget Jones and just grabbed the first popular reference that came to hand - the War Against Terror. Olivia Joules is also too much the opposite of Bridget Jones, in that she's an all-action kind of person, rather than one who sits around moaning about things and going out with her friends. Sure, there are a few similarities, with Olivia occasionally worrying about showing herself up in front of a new crowd, but these seem to be in there to appease the fans.

The end result is that you have a main character who you can't relate to terribly easily. Admittedly, being the wrong sex, it's difficult for me anyway, but where I could see parts of nearly everyone I know in Bridget Jones, I simply couldn't in Olivia Joules. I know of no-one who would suspect someone of being a terrorist, start following them around and be able to cope with everything that would entail. The places Olivia goes to aren't those most people would visit and the situations she finds herself in aren't like those any "normal" person would experience.

Part of the problem is that the only character I've come across who would adjust from a seemingly normal life to the "excitement" of what happened to Olivia was Jamie Lee Curtis' character in the film "True Lies". When characters in books start behaving like characters in films, it's a fair bet that things aren't in touch with reality. Indeed, this becomes truer later on the book, where the whole thing seems like a James Bond film. It's not a bad read, but it's all so horribly clichéd. That's never a good thing in a book and even worse when you think that it's a book by the author that helped define chick-lit in the first place.

On the plus side, the book is presented with short chapters, which makes it easy to pick up and put down. This is just as well, as you'll most likely finding yourself wanting to do that quite regularly. It's the ideal style for a book if most of your reading is done on public transport or to help you sleep, as mine is, but that's about all.

Maybe I'm missing the point and this book was supposed to be aimed at the teenage girl market and I would never have fallen into the right demographic for this book to appeal. But I don't really believe this. I think that Fielding has attempted to move away from Bridget Jones to gain a new voice and a new audience and has got so caught up in that idea, she forgot to add and reality or originality into the story.

This book really wouldn't stand up to a second reading. After all, it barely stands up to a first! This would be a no-brainer if it was a film, and it's even worse as a book, being little more than chick-lit meets James Bond. Unusually for Bond, the two are not happy bedfellows.

This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, [...], [...], www.amazon.co.uk and [...]
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on 16 October 2005
I have never read 'BRIDGET JONES DIARY' or 'EDGE OF REASON', but being that Helen Fielding is known to be one of the originators of the chick lit genre as it is today I wanted to read soemthing by her. So when I heard that she was coming out with a new novel I had to have it. 'OLIVIA JOULES AND THE OVERACTIVE IMAGINATION' was nothing like what I expected. It was a cross between a chick lit novel and intrigue in true 007 form. While I did find some aspects of 'OLIVIA JOULES' funny, I found much of the book to be a little over the top.
While on assignment in Miami writing an article for facial creme for her newspaper back in London, Olivia meets international playboy Pierre Ferramo, who suspiciously remids her a little too much of Osama Bin Laden. Olivia being the woman that she is believes that there is a story here and convinces one of the magazines that she freelances for to let her do a story on a luxury yach that is docked in Miami. Olivia's intention is to make herslf part of Pierre Ferramo's already large entourage in order to get the goods on him. But before she knows it there is a huge explosion on the yacht and hundreds of people are killed, the explosion is believed to be the work of Al-Qaeda terrorists. Is this a conincidence? Is it Olivia's imagination or could there be a connection here? Olivia follows Ferramo and his crew from Miami to Honduras to The Sudan to Los Angeles in hopes of uncovering a terrorist plot and saving the word. Yeah.
While 'OLIVIA JOULES' tended to drag in certian areas and I assure you that the book is pure fluff, it is a quick and easy read made for a day at the beach or when you just don't feel like flexing those brain muscles!
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on 9 January 2005
After reading 'Bridget Jones Edge of Reason' I just simply craved more. And here came 'Olivia Joules'!! What can I say: what a fabulous character with many hidden depths and what a mass of adventure she gets herself in. This book is certainly for Bridget fans, but with a little less slapstick and a lot more jet setting adventure and intrigue, and a byline romance. If you want a book that is strictly not predictable, here it is. Highly Recommended!! *****
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on 27 March 2005
If you are expecting to pick up a book that was as funny as Bridget Jones' Diary, then I suggest you look elsewhere. I was expecting this book to be hilarious, but it definately was not.
Olivia is a journalist for a newspaper. When she is sent to Miami to cover a face cream launch, she runs in to someone who she thinks might be dangerous - Pierre Ferramo, an international 'terrorist'. When a boat blowes up, and when things aren't how they seem, Olivia decides to stick around and check things out.
She has bugging devices in her room, someone is following her, someone is against her at the paper, and worst of all she has to cope with the advances of men in every destination!
It gets worse and worse, and towards the end it turns out that some of the main characters who are actually portrayed as evil actually work for MI5, and Olivia was pouring Ferramo's wine into the potted plant for no reason.
Be warned, if you are looking for something belivable, stay away!
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