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Cause Celeb Hardcover – January 29, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st American edition (January 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670894508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670894505
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,214,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Helen Fielding's novel Bridget Jones's Diary had a meandering, rather shapeless shape (as diaries will). Both fans and critics of that 1998 smash hit will be surprised to find that the author's first novel, previously unpublished in the United States, is a lot more sophisticated in structure. And Cause Celeb is nearly as fun as Bridget Jones's Diary, which is saying a lot, especially since Fielding's debut is about African famine. The narrator, Rosie Richardson, runs a relief camp in the invented country of Nambula. Henry, the most flippant member of her staff, wears a T-shirt that tersely lists the various motivations for relief workers to come to Africa: "(a) Missionary? (b) Mercenary? (c) Misfit? (d) Broken heart?" As Rosie herself admits, she is "a c/d hybrid and soft in the head to boot."

Flashbacks reveal that in London, Rosie had fallen in love with an erratic, emotionally abusive (but adorable!) newscaster. As she trailed about town in Oliver's wake, she came to know his in-crowd of movie stars, directors, and musicians. Her split with this media magnet is what initially sent her to Africa. Four years into Rosie's exile, however, a plague of locusts descends on the crops of a neighboring country, and refugees begin to flood her camp. She decides there's only one thing to do: go back home and round up her old celeb pals for a benefit TV special.

It should come as no shock that the London sequences are great fun, as is the climactic collision between movie stars and refugees. But the real treat is Fielding's handling of the camp sequences. Rosie and her staff struggle with their petty emotions as they confront the incredible suffering in front of them. Henry watches in disbelief as some starving refugees move their tent to a better location: "Never mind the old malnutrition--you go for the view." A newswoman visits the camp, and, fraught with emotion after first seeing the starving children, she caresses Rosie, whose response is this: "I hope the famine hadn't turned her into a lesbian." Fielding has found a voice that is both compassionate and irreverent, a rare and wonderful combination. --Claire Dederer

From Publishers Weekly

Fielding's first novel, published now in the States only following the success of her second (Bridget Jones's Diary), is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes moving, occasionally scurrilous delight. Rosie Richardson, the administrator of Safila, a refugee camp in the fictional African country of Nambula, needs funds fast. The usual relief agencies are tied up in diplomatic knots, a long-promised supply ship is always 10 days away and it looks as though thousands of refugees are about to come streaming over the border. If they arrive before the food does, hundreds of people will starve to death. Rosie, desperate, does the only thing she can think of: she quits her job, returns to England and organizes a celebrity fund drive. This effort is complicated by the fact that her ex-boyfriend, a manipulative TV presenter named Oliver, is her only access to celebrities. On top of dealing with the self-centered celebs, she must also come to terms with her old attraction to him. This is a tall order, as he is devastatingly handsome and unspeakably selfish. Unsurprisingly, the book turns out to be about growing up; the interest comes when it turns out that Rosie isn't the only one obliged to do so. Crosscutting from past to present, this is a two-for-the-price-of-one story: an amusing satire of the celebrity-obsessed West, and a sharp report on the callousness and inefficiency of relief work in Africa. Swinging from laugh-out-loud funny to heartbreakingly sad, this book will please Fielding's old fans and win new ones. (Feb.) Forecast: Those who doubted Fielding could sustain her momentum may be surprised by her staying power. While this novel won't match the sales of Bridget Jones's Diary, it should do very wellDit has sold more than 500,000 copies in the U.K. and EuropeDwith sales boosted by the February release of the paperback edition of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and, in April, the release of the film version of Bridget Jones's Diary.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Better than the Bridget Jones books which are terrific in their own right.
D. C. Carrad
I found this book very entertaining, and to my surprise, on more than one occasion very touching.
Maryland Reader
I had a hard time getting through it because it was very boring with not much action.
G.A.W.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Carey on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having enjoyed the Bridget Jones books like so many others, I was curious to see what else Helen Fielding had written, and came across Cause Celeb. I didn't have any specific expectations, although I suppose I was hoping for more of Fielding's wit and keen observations. I was very pleasantly suprised by this book, and came away from it quite impressed by Fielding's capabilities as an author.
This time, the heroine is Rosie Richardson, a London woman who has somehow fallen into a career that she doesn't quite seem to like or understand, has a penchant for the wrong type of man, and ditches it all to go do relief work in famine stricken Africa (the last bit was definitely not what I had expected!). As the 'wrong' man is somewhat of a celebrity, the readers get a peek into the exclusive world of the famous, with it's etiquette, rules and self-importance. The contrast between this world and that in Africa is, of course, enormous, but Fielding does not get overtly moralistic and simply presents the two universes as they co-exist and occasionally intermingle.
The characters are wonderful, from preening celebrities to other relief workers to the Africans. Rosie's encounters with all of them are funny, interesting and well-fleshed out. And Fielding has great fun with the concept of celebrity and it's ridiculousness, with using the famous to raise money for causes and whom it helps more - the celebrities orthe needy? The descriptions of the horrors of famine and starvation are presented speak for themselves. I got so engrossed in the book that I found myself having to put it down at times, too stressed the relief wouldn't arrive in time for those who needed it!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having absolutely LOVED "Bridget Jones' Diary" (Can't wait for the sequel! ), I was glad to find another title by Ms. Fielding. This book didn't quite have the ever-present humor of "Bridget", but since it's set in a more sobering community I can forgive. I thought it was easy to read, kept me interested, and gave me some small sense of Learning Something. I enjoyed it very much.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was in a bit of a contemporary fiction malaise (awaiting the Canadian publication of The Edge of Reason) and picked up Cause Celeb on a lark. Helen Fielding demonstrates that she can write beyond Bridget, crafting a story that is engrossing and satisfying. Her use of timing (jumping back-and-forth across 4-5 years) does more than serve as a means to an end, it sets the stage for the culmination of Rosie's "worlds" - fabulous! Her descriptions of the intracies of diplomacy in developing countries are funny, in a sad-but-true sort of way. Ultimately, I just really liked the way she told the story, it was the right amount of description coupled with dialogue (at least for me!). Let me one thing out of the way: Oliver *is* like Daniel. I thought that "complicated" Oliver would get old pretty fast, but I ended up sympathizing with Rosie (like I did with Bridget), because we've all been there. My only real problem with Cause Celeb was the lack of Rosie's character development. She's in London, and then five years later, she's in Nambula, and there's no real explanation of her motivation for staying (and how it's changed her). The ending, while wholly predictable, was nice and left me feeling satisfied. Helen Fielding *must* be encouraged to write beyond Bridget in the future, if Cause Celeb is any indication of the powerful and thoughtful stories she has to tell.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
After a desperately awful blind date I reread Bridget Jones' Diary (very therapeutic) and then went in search of more Helen Fielding. I liked Cause Celebre, particularly the interactions between Rosie Richardson and the diabolical Oliver. The depiction of the African famine is interesting and unsentimental. The book isn't as tight or as confident as Bridget Jones, but it's a hell of a first novel. I wait impatiently for Fielding's next book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "moonglow22" on March 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Unlike some other people, I went into this book not expecting Bridget Jones. What I found was actually closer to Bridget than I thought in some sections. However, Rosie is a stronger woman-she just doesn't know it yet. Fielding's characterizations of the celebrities, as well as the relief workers, were well-rounded, and the action was fast paced. But most of all, I never thought I would laugh out loud while reading about a famine. The scenes where the celebrities first encounter the Africans are quite funny. Later on though, while one celebrity is photographed holding a starving child, all I could picture was Sally Struthers wandering through the camps with tears in her eyes--and Fielding's point hit home. Cause Celeb is an interesting statement on the place of celebrity in our society--and how it can actually be used for good, even if those doing the good are vile people. I recommmend ths book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
After gobbling down The Edge of Reason I was curious to read Fielding's first novel, and hoping to re-experience some of the style I so enjoyed (actually, loved!) with Bridget. Cause Celeb fits the bill. While the protagonist is a less-extreme Bridget, more sure of herself in general, you can see Bridget's roots in Rosie and Fielding's style evolving. While the Bridget books are, let's face it, poor, unbridled silliness (Hurrah! What fun!), Cause Celeb has more of a social conscience, not only regarding the plight of Africa but with Rosie herself acknowledging she is worthy of more than being a doormat for the lunacy of a man. And, the best thing, tho superfluous...it's a slower read than Bridget, delaying the inevitable "What do I read now?" feeling! Keep 'em coming, Helen! Mmmmmm...
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