CAUSE CELEB by Helen Fielding
Place of Purchase: library loan
Reading Began: May 2003
Completed Reading: May 2003
Overall rating: Seven out of ten
Recommendation to others: For anyone with a heart for relief work and a strong sense of wanderlust as well as a healthy sense of humor about the absurdity of celebrity.
Why I chose to read this book: I wandered to the library shelf for Bridget Jones’s Diary (fueled by a viewing of the movie, and maybe a then-unrealized attraction to Colin Firth), and couldn’t bring myself to take it. I saw Cause Celeb sitting next to that one, found the premise intriguing, and walked right out with it. I’ve still not picked up Bridget and have lost the desire for it.
Further reading by this author: Without Bridget, there’s not much else to choose from, but perhaps… Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination? The use of terrorist activities as plotline brings some hesitation, but the heroine sounds fabulous.
Comments: So much more meaningful to me, this character of Rosie Richardson, than the idea of Bridget Jones can ever be. The story captivates my unsettled heart: disillusioned with the celebrity world, Rosie Richardson escapes her world of London glitterati to run a refugee camp in the African desert. Of course, I know nothing of the celebrity aspect, but I get this — the heart of this, the motivation, the desire to escape a world that grates. And this is tremendously glamorous to me. By the end of this book, I once again entertained thoughts of leaving America for an impoverished land where I could drop all societal mores and simply be useful. Though devastating, with fears and dangers I cannot fathom, it still seems glamorous to me. I felt connected to the journey that Rosie took, making this book escapism at its best.
Favorite Characters: Rosie, of course, and O’Rourke, the preeminent literary character for this type of story — a doctor who has dedicated his life to working in impoverished lands and who is more comfortable in these settings than in any society in the Western world. I rooted for them, and fell for them both.
If only your mind was washable. There have been so many times since then when I have wanted to lift off the top of my head, like the top of a boiled egg, take out my brain and rinse it under the tap like a dirty sponge, squeezing it over and over again, until the water ran clear. Then I would take a hosepipe and flush out my empty head with it, getting out all the gunge, pop the nice clean brain back in, give the top of the head a bit of a hose round and pop that back on too. Then I would not be sad anymore, not hurt, not disillusioned, but clean, naïve and jolly again. (Chapter 7, p. 80)
Kate was sitting in the Land Cruiser with her head in her hands. Julian and Oliver were both standing alone looking dazed. I could not see Henry or Betty or Debbie. O’Rourke was crouched over a child. He was not making any sound, and looked exactly the same as he always did when he was treating the children except that there were tears streaming down his face.
I did not know what to do. I stook dazed like the others and stared at it all. It was such a monumental horror that it felt as though nothing should be the same anymore, and nothing should continue: none of us should speak or do anything, the sun should not be moving across the sky, the wind should not blow. It did not seem possible that such a thing as this could be taking place without the world having to shudder to a halt and think again. (Chapter 29, p. 322)