Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

3.7 47
by Helen Fielding
     
 

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At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era . . . Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that's “J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of

Overview

At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era . . . Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that's “J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy”) and she's ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world's destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules's overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.

Author Biography: Helen Fielding, a journalist and a novelist, is the author of three previous novels, Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Cause Celeb. She also co-wrote the screenplays for the movie of Bridget Jones's Diary and the forthcoming sequel based on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Considering the number of writers who've tried, and generally failed, to do plummy Bridget Jones one better, it only makes sense that Fielding should take a vacation from the genre she spawned and seek (sort of) greener pastures. Her new inspiration? Think Ian Fleming. Fielding's ridiculous, delicious, wildly improbable plot goes something like this: freelance journalist Olivia Joules ("as in the unit of kinetic energy"), formerly Rachel Pixley (her whole family got run over when she was 14), gets bumped from the Sunday Times's international coverage down to the style pages thanks to the titular imagination (e.g., a story about a "cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia"). In between ducking twittering PR reps and airheaded blondes at a Miami face cream launch party, she uncovers what looks like an al-Qaeda plot, headed by a dreamy Osama bin Laden look-alike, who is either (1) a terrorist, (2) an international playboy, (3) a serial killer or (4) all of the above. Languid, mysterious Pierre Feramo returns Olivia's interest, and thus begins an around-the-world adventure that has plucky Olivia eventually recruited by MI6. In addition to the fun spy gear (e.g., Chlo shades fitted with a nerve-agent dagger) there are kidnappings, bomb plots and scuba-diving disasters. Olivia is slim, confident and accomplished; ostensibly, she's "painstakingly erased all womanly urges to question her shape, looks, role in life," etc. But she still has her bumbling Jonesian moments, and though she may not need a man, she'll get one in the end. What's wrong with the book: two-dimensional characters, dangling plot threads, the questionable taste of al-Qaeda bombings in an escapist, comic spy novel. What's right: girl-power punch, page-turning brio and a new heroine to root for. (June 8) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Bridget Jones series is entertaining and witty, but this new Fielding novel is disappointing. Olivia Joules (orphaned at age 14) moves to London and works as a writer for an international publication. She goes as a freelance journalist to the United States to cover the unveiling of a new face cream. At a party she meets Pierre Ferramo, an attractive Arabian film producer, who captivates her with his good looks and wealth. However, Olivia starts to connect Pierre to other frightening events going on in the area. She becomes convinced that he is a member of an al-Qaeda group in which Islamic fundamentalists drink, smoke, and womanize to disguise their true hatred toward Western culture. A ridiculous, thin, improbable plot based on world events, this wry thriller, read by Josephine Bailey, was clearly intended to be funny, but there is not much humor in this make-believe spoof. Not recommended.-Carol Stern, Glen Cove P.L., NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"It’s hard to imagine a more appealing heroine than Olivia." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Dependably delicious . . . Pitch perfect." —Newsweek 

Recklessly cosmopolitan, jet-setting, worldly, adventurous-a 340 page romp." —The Independent

"This is a girl’s own adventure - with added sauce - to rattle through in one entertaining sitting. Helen Fielding is a great comic writer." —The Spectator

"Very addictive…. Fielding’s comic talent lies in her adorable observations.... This is quintessential Fielding." —The Observer

"If Bridget Jones shaped and named a certain kind of life in the 1990s, it looks as if Olivia Joules, Helen Fielding’s new heroine, may do the same for the new decade." —The Times (London)

"Hurrah for Fielding! Yet again she’s picked up on what’s lacking in the girly train read, and whistled us up Olivia Joules: a Jane Bond heroine with a wonderfully overactive imagination…. Fielding’s prose shimmers and glares with wit, sophistication and humanity. A brilliant comic writer, Fielding’s talent exceeds any sociological explanation." —The Independent on Sunday

"Fielding is an extremely skillful and engaging writer. The book works as a fast-paced thriller - I gulped in down in one reading. But it also has great charm and, in its shy fashion, a moral theme." —The Telegraph

"The name is Joules, Olivia Joules.... Post Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding has written an action-packed thriller starring ‘a heroine for the 21st century.’ The result is a book that’s fast-moving and entertaining." —The Guardian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780330432733
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination


By Helen Fielding

Penguin Books

Copyright © 2005 Helen Fielding
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0143035363

Chapter One

LONDON

"The problem with you, Olivia, is that you have an overactive imagination."

"I don't," said Olivia Joules indignantly.

Barry Wilkinson, foreign editor of the Sunday Times, leaned back in his chair, trying to hold in his paunch, staring over his half-moon glasses at the disgruntled little figure before him, and thinking: And you're too damned cute.

"What about your story about the cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia, blotting out the sun?" he said.

"It was the Sudan."

Barry sighed heavily. "We sent you all the way out there and all you came up with was two grasshoppers in a polythene bag."

"But there was a locust cloud. It was just that it had flown off to Chad. They were supposed to be roosting. Anyway, I got you the story about the animals starving in the zoo."

"Olivia, it was one warthog-and he looked quite porky to me."

"Well, I would have got you an interview with the fundamentalist women and a cross amputee if you hadn't made me come back."

"The birth of Posh and Becks's new baby you were sent to cover live for BSkyB?"

"That wasn't hard news."

"Thank God."

"I certainly didn't imagine anything there."

"No. But nor did you say anything for the first ten seconds. You stared around like a simpleton, fiddling with your hair live on air, then suddenly yelled, 'The baby hasn't been born yet, but it's all very exciting. Now back to the studio.'"

"That wasn't my fault. The floor manager didn't cue me because there was a man trying to get into the shot with 'I'm a Royal Love Child' written on his naked paunch."

Wearily, Barry leafed through the pile of press releases on his desk. "Listen, lovey ..."

Olivia quivered. One of these days she would call him lovey and see how he liked it.

"... you're a good writer, you're very observant and intuitive and, as I say, extremely imaginative, and we feel on the Sunday Times, in a freelancer, those qualities are better suited to the Style section than the news pages."

"You mean the shallow end rather than the deep end?"

"There's nothing shallow about style, baby."

Olivia laughed. "I can't believe you just said that."

Barry started laughing as well.

"Look," he said, fishing out a press release from a cosmetics company, "if you really want to travel, there's a celebrity launch in Miami next week for some-perfume?-face cream."

"A face-cream launch," said Olivia dully.

"J. Lo or P. Binny or somebody ... there we go ... Devorie. Who the fuck is Devorie?"

"White rapper slash model slash actress."

"Fine. If you can get a magazine to split the costs with us, you can go and cover her face cream for Style. How's that?"

"Okay," said Olivia doubtfully, "but if I find a proper news story out there, can I cover that as well?"

"Of course you can, sweetheart," smirked Barry.



Continues...


Excerpted from Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding Copyright © 2005 by Helen Fielding. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"It’s hard to imagine a more appealing heroine than Olivia." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Dependably delicious . . . Pitch perfect." —Newsweek

Recklessly cosmopolitan, jet-setting, worldly, adventurous-a 340 page romp." —The Independent

"This is a girl’s own adventure - with added sauce - to rattle through in one entertaining sitting. Helen Fielding is a great comic writer." —The Spectator

"Very addictive…. Fielding’s comic talent lies in her adorable observations.... This is quintessential Fielding." —The Observer

"If Bridget Jones shaped and named a certain kind of life in the 1990s, it looks as if Olivia Joules, Helen Fielding’s new heroine, may do the same for the new decade." —The Times (London)

"Hurrah for Fielding! Yet again she’s picked up on what’s lacking in the girly train read, and whistled us up Olivia Joules: a Jane Bond heroine with a wonderfully overactive imagination…. Fielding’s prose shimmers and glares with wit, sophistication and humanity. A brilliant comic writer, Fielding’s talent exceeds any sociological explanation." —The Independent on Sunday

"Fielding is an extremely skillful and engaging writer. The book works as a fast-paced thriller - I gulped in down in one reading. But it also has great charm and, in its shy fashion, a moral theme." —The Telegraph

"The name is Joules, Olivia Joules.... Post Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding has written an action-packed thriller starring ‘a heroine for the 21st century.’ The result is a book that’s fast-moving and entertaining." —The Guardian

Meet the Author

Helen Fielding, a journalist and a novelist, is the author of three previous novels, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Cause Celeb. She also co-wrote the screenplays for the movie of Bridget Jones’s Diary and the forthcoming sequel based on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

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Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this. It's a really fun read. I would love to see this be made into a movie. I think Emily Blunt would be great as Olivia!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book, super fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like Bridget Jones, youll love Olivia. Funny and unvomfortable all in one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love spy fiction and chick lit, then this is the book for you. It's a fun read and takes you around the world and back again as Olivia's overactive imagination gets the best of her and saves the day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bridget Jones in spy games! Should have been the title. Really disappointing, with current events distasteful.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a fan of Chick lit (similar concept to a chick flick), but if you're looking for a cute, light read then this book is a good choice. It was funny and enjoyable to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the Bridget Jones movie, but never read the books so I can't compare it to the author's other titles. This book, however, is a smart and fun read. The story line is engaging and, at times, quite thrilling. Yes, it is a more complicated plot than Bridget Jones, but I don't think the intention was to make this chick lit lite. It's a good read--don't pass it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fielding did herself a disservice with this book. I found it silly and boring. It seemed that the author was trying to recapture the essence of her successful character and just named her 'Joules'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this novel by Helen Fielding. I absolutely loved the Bridget Jones books, but this one was slow and lacked an interesting storyline. It took me forever to finish it but forced myself because I purchased it when it came out. I plan on donating it to my public library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could definitely take or leave this book. I was interested to read it through the end, but the characters confused me, I didn't feel they were developed very well, and the overall theme of the book went to some strange places. I definitely like the 'female hero' idea, but this just didn't come through. And as a NYC resident, I didn't enjoy reading about 9/11 in my 'chick lit'. Pretty disappointing after Bridget's Diary...I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read and enjoyed all of Helen Fielding's books and this one did not disappoint, I absolutely loved it! The writing is entertaining, the plot intriguing and Helen Fielding has created another wonderful character in Olivia Joules, I look forward to a sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the reviews from other readers, I was looking forward to testing this one out. After reading half of it I was really bored and unamused. After finishing it I will not pick up another book from this writer again. There was way too much about terrorists and the middle east, post 9/11, etc... If I wanted to read about that, I would gladly pick up Time magazine. If you want a truely entertaining chick lit book, read Sophie Kinsella books. They are more entertaining and better suited for light, fun and enjoyable summer reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely as good as Bridget Jones. This book should be made into a movie .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book, it's so funny and such an easy read