Review

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

by Helen Fielding



Olivia Joules, the title character in Helen Fielding's latest
novel, OLIVA JOULES AND THE OVERACTIVE IMAGINATION, is a
professional writer who dabbles in novice espionage. Orphaned at a
young age and determined to climb the social ladder, Olivia
(formerly Rachel Pixley) moves to London and starts working for an
international publication. On more than one occasion, her
imagination gets the best of her and she finds evil dwelling behind
the scenes of every fashion story she encounters.

Fed up, her boss assigns her to cover the launch of a new product
in Florida where, as her history would have it, she encounters a
man, Pierre Ferramo, whom she suspects of terrorism. A coincidental
disaster on the morning of her date with the dark and exotic Pierre
sends Olivia's brain spiraling. From London, to Miami, to
Hollywood, to Central America, and finally the Sudan, Olivia
follows her love-interest-slash-terrorist-suspect to an unexpected
conclusion.

Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding's lead character in her previous
bestsellers, was one of those hugely popular fictional folk who
became iconic in no time. Women loved her because she worried about
weight, and boyfriends, and cigarettes, and drinking too much, and
work, and, well, everything. We all found her to be highly
recognizable and relatable. She was one of us. And we loved her so
much that Helen Fielding brought her back in an equally successful
sequel to the first book. Heck, Hollywood made a movie about her
(and a second one is coming to a theatre near you soon).

Olivia Joules, however, is no Bridget Jones. Where Bridget concerns
herself with the absolutes of everyday life, Olivia is off the
charts in her pursuit of a Bond-like existence. Bridget despairs
over too many chocolates; Olivia assembles a spy kit. Bridget
sneaks off to the country for a weekend with her boss; Olivia goes
scuba diving in shark infested waters. Bridget suffers over
decisions of what to wear; Olivia carries a suitcase of all the
right outfits. Sure, Olivia is quirky in a Walter Mitty way, what
with that overactive imagination referred to in the title, but
she's unbelievable. She's not one of us, like Bridget.

Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 13, 2011

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
by Helen Fielding

  • Publication Date: June 3, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670033332
  • ISBN-13: 9780670033331