MINI-REVIEWS: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, Bridget Jones' Diary 1 & 2

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119. Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
Publication: Viking Pr (June 3, 2004), Hardcover, 320pp / ISBN 0670033332
Genre: Fiction, Thriller (sort of)

Read: October 8-9, 2011
Source: Bought?


Basically this book went in an entirely different direction than I thought it would based on the first 20 pages or so. And I LOVED it! Before the switch happened I was so sure this would be another of those “oh, look at how silly women are and aren’t they just adorable and forgettable and etc.” sorts of books, something that I HATE. But then! Then! It became a “look at how much this woman can KICK YOUR BUTT and she isn’t even a professional butt-kicker or anything!” sort of book! And that was pretty amazing.

The romance, which showed up really out of nowhere in the last third of the book, threw me off a bit. But I really enjoyed the rest of it, especially how Olivia accomplishes amazing things without even having to go through a lot of character transformation. I mean, I like it when characters evolve from one thing to another in books, but in Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination the point wasn’t that Olivia needed to change. It’s that her circumstances needed to change in order to show her off at her best, and they did!


Fun and exciting and kind of scary! It’s like a fluffy thriller, if that helps.

122. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Publication: Penguin (Non-Classics) (May 24, 1999), Paperback, 288pp / ISBN 014028009X
Genre: Fiction

Reread: October 12-13, 2011
Source: BookMooch


This is the second time I’ve read this book now. The first time I read it (August 2008), I rated it a 5 bird book. You may notice that it’s been shoved down a bit there. Still, I did enjoy it, and though at first I was annoyed by how it seemed to be saying that all women everywhere were miserable being single and didn’t know what they wanted and were entirely too dependent on drugs, alcohol and self-help books, the more I read the more I realized that…this is actually kind of a satire, isn’t it?

I don’t know which came first, Bridget Jones or everyone telling women they needed to be Bridget Joneses, but it doesn’t really matter, because I think what it’s saying is that a) it’s silly to be like a Bridget Jones but b) if you ARE a Bridget Jones, that’s okay. Either way, you’ll have a fantastic life. Just don’t take it/yourself/self-help books to seriously.


If you read it like it’s satire it’s about 100x more hilarious, just FYI.

123. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
Publication: Penguin (Non-Classics) (January 30, 2001), Paperback, 352pp / ISBN 0140298479
Genre: Fiction

Read: October 14-15, 2011
Source: Bought


I didn’t like the majority of this book because of the plot. It was just all over the place, going way beyond anything I could comfortably believe, and by the time the Thailand plotline happened I was just like “wtf is going on” the whole time. So that wasn’t enjoyable.

I also didn’t really like the characters. In the first book Bridget’s friends were important to both the story and her own life; in this one they were shoved off to the side and felt really flat as well.

However! I really liked the romance (and the whole “who are we really vs who we present ourselves as” thing). I liked that it wasn’t just a continuation of the happily-ever-after that happened in the first book. I like that Bridget and Mark had to wobble around each other, trying to figure each other/what they were doing/etc. out and how they could be together when they were both trapped in a rom-com kind of situation. It made the ending SO much more satisfying, and the relationship so much more real and genuine and lovely.


The plot and characters are completely ridiculous, but the love story was worth reading and I was SO happy at the end.

7 thoughts on “MINI-REVIEWS: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, Bridget Jones' Diary 1 & 2”

  1. I read Oliva Joules a few years ago, pre blogging. I picked it up at the library on a whim and it turned out to be so much fun. I may need to give it a reread. Glad you liked it!

    1. Also, I just did some (wikipedia) investigating, and Fielding hasn’t had anything published since Olivia Joules in 2003/4. She needs to do something about that – I want more Olivia Joules-like stories!

      1. I know! I was surprised she hadn’t put anything out since then. I mean, she DID have a kid or two (I think). But I want more Olivia Joules-like stories, too!

  2. I really enjoyed the first Bridget Jones, but then got frustrated with the second one. All of the quirky little traits that endeared me to Bridget in the first book merely annoyed me in the second.

    That’s put me off reading any more Helen Fielding but might give Olivia Joules a go.

    1. Olivia Joules is really different from the Bridget books, although it’s got a similar kind of quirky humor. The wacky situations work a lot better in OJ than they did in BJ2, in my opinion.

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