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Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
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Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination

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3.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,009 Ratings  ·  749 Reviews
Move over, 007: a stunning, sexy - and decidedly female - new player has entered the world of international espionage armed with her own pocket survival kit, her Rules for Living, her infamous overactive imagination, and a very special underwire bra. How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo - he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginab ...more
Hardcover, Viking, 306 pages
Published June 2004 by Penguin (first published November 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Preeti
Mar 10, 2009 Preeti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
Damn. I never had so much fun without moving an inch. Bloody brilliant.

Helen Fielding is finally back with a brand new heroine - Olivia Joules. Olivia is instantly likeable: down-to-earth, smart, self-made, and armed and ready to go with her own set of insecurities.

As the title suggests, Olivia's seeming downfall is her overactive imagination. She is berated by her boss and friends equally for it, especially because, as a journalist, she's been known to botch up more than a few stories along the
...more
Jen
Dec 23, 2007 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Try very hard not to compare to Bridget Jones because that one was just in a world by itself (I love laughing until I cry and it's one of VERY FEW that were successfully told on screen - Renee Zellwegger is perfect for that part!).

Okay, back to OJATOA (that title's too long to write!).
* Title: Too long but it's sort of part of the humor
* Hilariously NOT NOT NOT believable at all
* The main character stereotypes people in the most ridiculous ways - you want to just slap her on the head - I suspe
...more
Krista
Sep 01, 2015 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked about this book is that it was a surprise. I don't understand why some readers berated this book for not being Bridget Jones' Diary. It was written by the same author who obviously wanted to write about something else for a change. I also enjoyed it because I've always had a secret desire for espionage.

I was expecting another chick-lit story, but was pleased to find myself reading a light-hearted comedic chick-lit spy thriller. It became hard to put down to prepare meals for my fami
...more
Valissa
Nov 17, 2010 Valissa rated it it was ok
Rules for Living by Olivia Joules
1. Never panic. Stop, breathe, think.
2. No one is thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you.
3. Never change haircut or color before an important event.
4. Nothing is either as bad or good as it seems.
5. Do as you would be done by, e.g. thou shalt not kill.
6. It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only quite like.
7. Hardly anything matters: if you get upset, ask yourself, "Does it rea
...more
Julz
Apr 13, 2007 Julz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit, florida
I was drawn to this book since I loved Bridget Jones, adore South Beach, and have been accused of having an overactive imgination, but I was sorely disappointed. I found it over-the-top and silly. It completely lacked the absurdity-meets-reality of the Bridget Jones books.

It made me wonder if Fielding is one of those authors who should stick to writing only what they know.
Greg Bascom
May 19, 2012 Greg Bascom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this novel twice in as many weeks, the first time zipping along sniffing the eccentric aromas of lovely silliness laced with adverbs about a pert blonde British freelance journalist with the essential ingredient for a M16 spy, an overactive imagination. Skimming along, oblivious of details, not looking for clues, I enjoyed what I presumed delightful nonsense although with the haunting suspicion of missing something.

So I read it again. With foreknowledge of important characters like the cl
...more
beatricks
Just remembered I wrote this review back in 2007:

I was interested to see how a writer of such iconic books [Bridget Jones] would do outside her established area of success. Fielding obviously set out to make this book quite different: besides the occasionally omniscient third-person narration, Olivia is extremely unlike Bridget: focused on her career rather than finding love, and socially confident as well as secure in her looks. She's competent, skilled, and globally-minded. Instead of a romant
...more
Nicole
Mar 11, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nicole by: Jamina Fritts
I remember reading a snarky review of this when it first came out, and I see that the average rating here at Goodreads isn’t all that high. Maybe those who dislike it are comparing it unfavourably with Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I know is very popular. I still haven’t read Bridget, and I thought I would start with Olivia and judge it on its own merits, because a friend highly recommended Olivia to me. I liked it. It’s a fun, entertaining read. Olivia is a fun character-—part plucky reporter, p ...more
Lilly de Vries
Oct 02, 2015 Lilly de Vries rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soooooo I will admit that this started a little slow for me, but thankfully I'm curious and wanted to know the outcome! I don't want to ruin anything but I will say it was worth the read and I loved it!
Georgiana 1792
Dec 06, 2014 Georgiana 1792 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ho letto assurdità che non stanno né in cielo né in terra. Chissà cosa si era fatta la Fielding prima di scrivere questo libro...
Carmen
May 13, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read that took me on a bit of a roller coaster of opinions. At first it felt a lot like Bridget Jones, which I didn’t like because I was hoping for something different. But then things picked up and got super interesting. I went on my own little adventure right along with Olivia, and had a lot of fun with it!
For the most part, I was pretty impressed with the plotline and reveals. Usually I find I’m able to figure things out long before they’re revealed to the reader, whic
...more
Mistress   ~ ♠ Mistral's Kiss ♠ ~ (Mist)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janny
The cover: Enter Olivia Joules, fearless, dazzling, independent beauty-journalist turned master-spy - a new heroine for the twenty-first century. In Miami for a face-cream launch, she spots Pierre Ferramo across a room. Dangerously charismatic and undeniably gorgeous, with impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth and exotic international homes, he seems almost too good to be true. But what if Ferramo is actually a major terrorist bent on destruction, hiding behind an smokescreen of fine wines, yach ...more
Lucy
Jul 07, 2012 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Last week I was having real reading trouble. Nothing on my TBR pile (either in paper books or e-books) inspired me, I was tired and run-down with a cold, I had next to no concentration, and what energy and concentration I did have I was using for work. I tried to read my current paperback, I tried a few things on my kindle, nothing was working. I needed something light and easy, and, well, I don’t usually go for light and easy, so there wasn’t anything of that type around.

However on Wednesday I
...more
Laura
Sep 06, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Olivia Joules and the Over-Active Imagination’ is a stand-alone novel from ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding.

I have read and enjoyed both Bridget Jones books and Helen Fielding’s previous novel, ‘Cause Celeb’. However, I was a little reticent about reading this as I thought that after her success with Bridget Jones, Fielding would continue in the same vein but would find it hard to recreate another character as individual and captivating as Bridget. I was pleasantly surprised; this turned o
...more
Helen Moyes
Light thriller, with great twists.
Olivia Joules either has an overactive imagination, or she is in danger.
The journalist turns female Bond/ grown up Nancy Drew, enjoying travel, survival skills, thrills & trying to work out who (if anyone) can be trusted.
And yet I could relate to the character from the 6 reasons she likes hotels, packing strategies,being accident prone, reflections on life to her 14 rules of living:
1.Never panic. Stop, breath, think
2.No one is thinking about you. They're thi
...more
Anastasia
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
Ma perché ogni protagonista della Fielding si ritrova cocaina nella valigia..?

(I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad, I got sunshiiine in a bag, I'm useless but not for looong the future is coming ooon is coming oooon is coming oooon..)
Scusate, è che ogni volta che si nomina la polvere bianca mi vengono in mente i Gorillaz.

Comunque mi sembra chiaro che Bridget Jones è la regina indiscussa delle chick-lit, non c'è storia - Sophie Kinsella? Ma chi è, pff - e Olivia Joules in confronto è una cacchetta.
S
...more
Manuelle Mary
This book, I believe, completed my Helen Fielding collection and I can't be more than glad. I spent like less than 100Php for all her 4 books, and practically speaking, THAT'S A LOT OF SAVINGS THERE.

I was enchanted by the sudden coming of Morton C, not believing they'd be together in the end. I also love the character of Olivia slash Rachel. I wish I had her guts to follow a suspected (and notorious) criminal like Pierre, and experience a lot of devastating and outrageous scenes.

I'm giving it 3
...more
esterb
Bridget Jones meets James Bond — result: Olivia Joules (that’s “J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy”), another character of Helen Fielding’s fantastic mind. In the mood for an easy read and hilarious story? Pick up this book and you’ll have a great couple of days.

After these positive lines I feel the need to say that this is really not a Bridget follow up. For me this book is not as good as the first Bridget Jones book. The characters are a little more flat and two-dimensional and some of th
...more
Siv
Jul 15, 2015 Siv rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Not as funny as b jones- how many normal people can relate to a slim glamorous journalist orphan who has reinvented herself made money in her parents life insurance and gets to travel the world? I did not laugh out loud!
Kelsey
Jun 16, 2008 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually want to give this book three and a half stars. I picked it up because I really enjoyed the two Bridget Jones books (there some of the only books I've read that actually made me laugh out loud), and this is by the same author. Similar to the Bridget books, it's funny in an absurd kind of way, and I *did* enjoy the fact that this female lead was a bit less idiotic and hopeless (though lovable!) than Bridget. And yet this book just didn't have the same insight and sharp humor I expected ...more
Blain
Oct 31, 2010 Blain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can one say of a book when you live in a county where finding anything to read in english is a challenge. Well one can say that it was mostly an easy read and as far as entertainment it's passable although often laughable. As far as any complaints the largest would have to be wanting to slam an editor against a wall for letting Fielding get away with random over use of page breaks many times without any change in location, time, or even voice for that matter. Arggg! If I could I would give ...more
Nick Davies
I had enjoyed both the Bridget Jones books, and the first film, but this was a disappointment. Perhaps having no preconceptions or less familiarity with the main character meant that I judged her (and the book) more harshly, but this just seemed to be a novel about some deluded woman. The use of more 'serious' plot devices such as espionage and terrorism failed to add anything of value. Yes, there were laugh-out-loud moments, and I know as a straight man in his mid twenties I wasn't the target a ...more
Natalie
Mar 12, 2014 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - that was AWESOME!
I finally got a book with an interesting female main character who is just enough ditzy and just enough smart to be entertaining.
There's everything in that plot - hot guys, mysterious strangers, fashion, journalism, travel, adventure, just enough romance, just enough of a scare, underwater world, beaches, terrorists. How did Helen Fielding ever manager to mix all of that together and not be cheesy?
I kept guessing and missing how the plot will evolve throughout entire book
...more
Kristal
May 09, 2016 Kristal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really enjoy this book that much. The main character reminded me of Bridget Jones on speed. I finished it, but only because I had nothing else handy to read.
Kristin Dow
A light, fluffy read. Fielding is always clever and is a talented writer, packing the occasional powerful description and one-liners, but the story never grabbed me. It dragged and I felt more obligated to finish than wanting to. And hate it when a love interest calls the heroine "baby." Gag. Can sense Fielding trying to break away from Bridget Jones, but fell flat.
Books2brl Adams
Silly and lightweight but very entertaining.
Elizabeth
I prefer Fielding's other non-Bridget book Cause Celeb, but this was an easy, fluffy read. There were parts of it that felt kind of sloppy, but the witty humor helped. It took me a lot longer to read this than I intended and I forgot about some of the minor side characters (one of whom became more important), but oh well. The end was stupid but –again– oh well.
Gouthami
Feb 02, 2016 Gouthami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mills & Boon meets John Le Carre - actually it is much better than that! Vintage Helen Fielding - makes you feel like you are the heroine. Totally enjoyed at least the first half of the book. And then of course I wonder why my life is so boring and I never seem to run into these complete hunks who totally flip for me - I guess that is where fact and fiction part :)
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Helen Fielding was born in Yorkshire. She worked for many years in London as a newspaper and TV journalist, travelling as wildly and as often as possibly to Africa, India and Central America. She is the author of four novels: Cause Celeb, Bridget Jones’ s Diary, Bridget Jones:The Edge of Reason and Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, and co-wrote the screenplays for the movie of Bridget ...more
More about Helen Fielding...

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Rules for Living by Olivia Joules
1. Never panic. Stop, breathe, think.
2. No one is thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you.
3. Never change haircut or color before an important event.
4. Nothing is either as bad or good as it seems.
5. Do as you would be done by, e.g. thou shalt not kill.
6. It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only quite like.
7. Hardly anything matters: if you get upset, ask yourself, "Does it really matter?"
8. The key to success lies in how you pick yourself up from failure.
9. Be honest and kind.
10. Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance.
11. Trust your instincts, not your overactive imagination.
12. When overwhelmed by disaster, check if it's really a disaster by doing the following: (a) think, "Oh, fuck it," (b) look on the bright side, and if that doesn't work, look on the funny side. If neither of the above works then maybe it is a disaster so turn to items 1 and 4.
13. Don't expect the world to be safe or life to be fair.”
393 likes
“No one is thinking about you. They're thinking about themselves, just like you.” 12 likes
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