Friday, November 9, 2012

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination - Helen Fielding

Summary:  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, 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 smoke screen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses-slash-models?   Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules's overactive imagination.  (Summary from book - Image from kobobooks.com )

My Review:  This.  This is the book I chose to read after a month of not reading.  It was written by the same woman who wrote Bridget Jones's Diary, and I hoped it would be light and fluffy with just the right amount of British snark.  It was light and  fluffy with a fair amount of English snarkishness, but I think I can safely say that a blind monkey could have rifled through my bookshelves and still picked a better one.

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination is supposed to be a chick-lit spy novel.  However, most of the real spy craft didn't happen until the latter half of the book.  Olivia spent the first half of the book trying to decide if her possible love interest was Osama Bin Laden, or one of his lackeys.  It went a little like this:  Is he a terrorist?  I think he must be.  Yes, I am certain!  I better do something about it!  No wait.  He can't be.  He's too cute to be a terrorist!  He couldn't possibly be.  I am out of my mind.  But there is that one thing he does.  It is suspicious.  Very suspicious.  Perhaps I should follow him more just to be sure.  Oh my gosh, he's a terrorist.  No.  Yes.  No.  Yes!   I got a little sick of Olivia's flip-flopping, especially when the answer was so darn obvious.  When she finally picked a side,  Olivia's transition from wannabe to actual spy, and the subsequent story line, felt rushed, unnatural, and rather ridiculous.

The only things that I liked about this book were Fielding's use of the British vernacular, Olivia's take-no-crap attitude, and the surprise twist in the last few chapters that I did not see coming.  I had to re-read portions of the book, to see what foreshadowing I had missed.  Turns out, quite a lot.  Overall, this is a book that I'm glad I finished (so that I can start a new one) but not particularly glad I read.

My Rating: 2 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Much like Bridget Jones's Diary, this book does not want for the F-word.  Seriously. If you are even remotely sensitive to profanity, I'd find another book.

Sum it up:  Meh.  I've read much much better.

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