July 01, 2005
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
I just thwacked myself on the head with Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination. Literally. I was so furious with the idiocy of the story that I had to do something. Hurt quite a bit, for a paperback.
Aside from Bridget Jones's Diary, I have never read girly novels. In fact, I routinely scoff at their tangerine and lime covers as I walk by the Chick Lit table at my local bookstore. But this weekend I spent far too much time reading about economic development and the plight of women in China, it was very depressing. Decided that a dose of fluffy, girlish escapism would be a pleasant distraction, perhaps I could lose myself in the adventures of an interesting female character and her CIA-agent love interest.
As you can guess from the title, our protagonist has an "overactive imagination" but (surprise!) happens to be spot on when she starts to believe that a jetsetting playboy is actually an Islamist terrorist. Why? Well, he's swarthy, speaks Arabic and happens to be in the same city when a cruise ship gets blown up by (surprise!) al-Qaeda. Since the author is an ignorant nitwit when it comes to Arabs, Islam, MENA and Islamist terrorism, it turns out that the playboy is in fact an al-Qaeda terrorist. A beautiful, sexy terrorist that Olivia wants to screw, but can't because she feels put out by the six-foot-tall sultry Indian model who hangs around him all the time.
Anyway, being a journalist, she gets to fly all over the place and stay in nice hotels, where she keeps bumping into the same badly-disguised, extremely hot CIA agent. Serious, handsome computer geek type, I liked him initially. Alas, he was compelled by his nationality to append "baby" to every sentence he uttered, which turned him into a handsome, intense, fucking retard. Somehow they both end up at the playboy's dive resort in the Honduras, he sticks his hand down her jeans for a bit, then some guy gets eaten by a shark (or murdered by the terrorists, was too busy cursing to pay close attention). The playboy/al-Qaeda operative turns out to be a possessive psychopath with mommy issues, he keeps calling Olivia his saqr and blathers on about training her to come back to him like a good falcon. Eventually she flies back to England, but not before the playboy spends a few seconds sucking on her index finger like a piglet. You know, because he has mommy issues.
Over to London, where she is apprehended at the airport by the Indian model, revealed as an undercover MI6 agent aka "Undercover Bitch" to our jealous, petty, ignorant (but spunky!) troglodyte Olivia. Later that day, she meets a noted Arabist/MI6 agent, the sort of guy you'd see being played by Michael Caine. He thinks she should take the playboy up on his most recent offer (fly to Sudan and do the nasty with him in a Bedouin tent or something) so they can pinpoint al-Qaeda's hideout and uncover their evil plans. The ubiquitous Hot CIA Agent is also there, they trade insults until the agent starts getting weirdly tender for no reason.
Olivia is given a crash course in spying, gets a few powder-puff flash grenades and has daggers and nerve-gas syringes fitted to her bra underwires. Meanwhile, Undercover Bitch stalks around with her silken black hair and Gucci sweater, making Olivia furious. I begin to like her more than the main character. Unfortunately, sultry Indian model is a double agent working for al-Qaeda (for no particular ideological reason) and betrays the entire operation. Olivia is dragged off to some caves by the Red Sea, where none other than Osama bin Laden is hiding out with his bearded Islamofascist buddies. You think I'm joking, don't you?
At this point I was simply trying to make it to the end of this trainwreck, so the details are a bit fuzzy. Through clever use of her circular-saw bra attachment and couple of flash grenades, Olivia manages to swim out of the caves, dragging the semi-conscious playboy behind her. Hot CIA Agent, near-mad with grief over his lost shag opportunity, gallantly lifts her out of the ocean and saves her from the suddenly conscious and stabby playboy, who gets eaten by a shark or something. Agency boy declares his undying love as their helicopter is hit by shoulder-fired missiles. Oh, and then they fly to LA and save the fucking Academy Awards from a terrorist attack. C4 explosives in the Oscar statues, brilliant!
Perhaps it's the genre.
Posted by eerie at July 1, 2005 11:54 PM
Filed Under: Reviews
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you do realize that this is going to be the screenplay for the next james bond movie, right?
obviously, they're gonna change it a bit so that the heroine will be a hero, and the whole sexual relationship(s?) will be homoerotic ones. which is precisely where michael caine comes in again. and usama bin ladin with his beautiful kohl-lied eyes.
and now for something completely different: aqoul needs to become better known. i've only stumbled upon it through following some other blog-leads ... am thinking of synergy here. like, why not have josh landis also copy his posts in aqoul? or nur al-cubicle?
Posted by: raf* at August 16, 2005 06:10 AM
The Bond angle is weird enough to be true...having a bit of trouble visualizing sex-kitten bin Laden though.
Re guest bloggers and raising our profile, definitely something to think about as we get to know the MENA blogosphere. Generally, I'd like to have mostly original content on the 'Aqoul site, rather than cross-posted entries (since they may be picked up anyway by our "under construction" RSS aggregator - http://syn.aqoul.com).
'Aqoul is rather new, but it has a solid base of regular visitors who used to gather on Livejournal (free account, worth every penny) to discuss MENA issues. My primary intention was to build a more attractive and full-featured "cafe" for the group. Other interesting people wandering over would be a bonus, but we didn't have any concrete plans for attracting visitors.
Posted by: eerie at August 18, 2005 12:59 AM