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Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by [Fielding, Helen]
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Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination Reprints , Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Amazon.co.uk Review

Where do you go after Bridget Jones? Creator Helen Fielding's response has been to go somewhere completely different. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, Fielding's fourth novel, is a spy-thriller whose sassy heroine, the eponymous Joules, doesn't fret about weight gain, laddering her tights or Chardonnay and fags in the manner of her predecessor. Oh no--Olivia, once plain old Rachel Pixley from Worksop, is a self-made, go-getting journalist for the Sunday Times and Elan magazine with, or so her colleagues at the ST maintain, "an overactive imagination" and an impeccable gift for languages. Both of these come in handy when Olivia is despatched to Miami to cover a face-cream launch, meets the enigmatic Pierre Ferramo, an international playboy, and finds herself on the scene of an al-Qaeda bomb attack. (Question: where, exactly, do Elsie and Edward rustle up that tray of tea from?)

Cue meetings with suitably disreputable people (wannabe film stars, Arab carpet vendors, spies, terrorists) in an array of exotic locales (LA, Honduras, Egypt) as Olivia goes on the trail of the terrorists and, utterly implausibly, is recruited to MI6 (they can't get the staff nowadays). A ridiculous plot is not exactly a hanging offence in a spy-thriller, which is probably just as well here. Sadly, for Fielding, however, we do inhabit a post-Austin-Powers universe and Olivia, a walking digest of Susan Jeffers platitudes, is hard to take: seriously or otherwise. None of it is very funny, nor thrilling. Olivia is more Nancy Drew than Modesty Blaise or, crucially, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.

Still, you can have great fun playing Bond-bingo with the clichés. Family wiped out in freak accident. Tick. Greasy henchmen. Tick. Gadgets. Tick. Charismatic al-Qaeda villain, who to Olivia's amusement, admittedly, really does use the sentences: "It is a great delicacy in our land" and "Evidently, you are connoisseur of great beauty. As am I." (Alas, "I expect you to die, Ms Joules" and "He's inside the belly of that steel beast", do not materialise.) Maybe there's a clue in the title; perhaps the whole shebang is intended to be taken with a huge bag of Saxo. As Scott Rich, the CIA hunk, says to Olivia as the tale closes: "Oh don't be silly, lovey. It's just a figment of your overactive imagination." If only. --Travis Elborough

Amazon Review

Where do you go after Bridget Jones? Creator Helen Fielding's response has been to go somewhere completely different. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, Fielding's fourth novel, is a spy-thriller whose sassy heroine, the eponymous Joules, doesn't fret about weight gain, laddering her tights or Chardonnay and fags in the manner of her predecessor. Oh no--Olivia, once plain old Rachel Pixley from Worksop, is a self-made, go-getting journalist for the Sunday Times and Elan magazine with, or so her colleagues at the ST maintain, "an overactive imagination" and an impeccable gift for languages. Both of these come in handy when Olivia is despatched to Miami to cover a face-cream launch, meets the enigmatic Pierre Ferramo, an international playboy, and finds herself on the scene of an al-Qaeda bomb attack. (Question: where, exactly, do Elsie and Edward rustle up that tray of tea from?)

Cue meetings with suitably disreputable people (wannabe film stars, Arab carpet vendors, spies, terrorists) in an array of exotic locales (LA, Honduras, Egypt) as Olivia goes on the trail of the terrorists and, utterly implausibly, is recruited to MI6 (they can't get the staff nowadays). A ridiculous plot is not exactly a hanging offence in a spy-thriller, which is probably just as well here. Sadly, for Fielding, however, we do inhabit a post-Austin-Powers universe and Olivia, a walking digest of Susan Jeffers platitudes, is hard to take: seriously or otherwise. None of it is very funny, nor thrilling. Olivia is more Nancy Drew than Modesty Blaise or, crucially, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.

Still, you can have great fun playing Bond-bingo with the clichés. Family wiped out in freak accident. Tick. Greasy henchmen. Tick. Gadgets. Tick. Charismatic al-Qaeda villain, who to Olivia's amusement, admittedly, really does use the sentences: "It is a great delicacy in our land" and "Evidently, you are connoisseur of great beauty. As am I." (Alas, "I expect you to die, Ms Joules" and "He's inside the belly of that steel beast", do not materialise.) Maybe there's a clue in the title; perhaps the whole shebang is intended to be taken with a huge bag of Saxo. As Scott Rich, the CIA hunk, says to Olivia as the tale closes: "Oh don't be silly, lovey. It's just a figment of your overactive imagination." If only. --Travis Elborough


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1014 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (21 Aug. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003DWC6OU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,400 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love, love , love this book. This is the second time I've read it! Funny and full of surprises.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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By A Customer on 19 Dec. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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By A Customer on 11 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
I think that the reason why this book has a lower rating is due to people expecting this to be another Bridget Jones and being somewhat disappointed when they discover that it's worlds away from the life of Ms Jones.
This is an extremely funny novel written in a style that is intended to be tongue in cheek. It's like 007 meets Carry on Camping, the plots are highly unbelievable... but then again, the book is titled "Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination".
Olivia is a kick-ass type of woman who becomes embroiled in the world international espionage, and discovers plans for an Al Qaeda attack after attending the launch of a new cosmetic.
This is a fab holiday read, and is fun and witty too.
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