“ Author: Lauren Weisberger / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 28 June 2003 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: The Devil Wears Prada / ISBN 13: 9780007156108 / ISBN 10: 0007156108 „
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I wasn't actually aware of this book until the film under the same name came out. Having watched the film first and enjoying it I decided to read the book and it did not disappoint!
It starts off with Andrea a young woman who has just finished college and is looking to become a journalist or writer of some sort. She finds herself being interviewed for the role of Second Assistant to Runways Editor in Chief Miranda Priestly who is incredibly difficult and demanding but its a job "million girls would die for" so thinking ahead of where it could take her Andrea is offered the job and accepts. From here we find out what its like to live being at Mirandas beckon call, the tasks Andrea is given seem to be simple but begin to prove troublesome due to Mirandas high standards and awkwardness. The coffee rounds are a personal highlight for me and feature several times in the book.
Andrea is initially sceptical of the fashion world but over the course of the book we see her attitude change as her role demands more of her time. Her friend Lily and Boyfriend Alex and indeed other family members simply cannot understand what it is like and so Andrea struggles to maintain her relationship with them whilst providing Miranda with everything she needs
I really enjoyed this book. I don't often read fiction books but having enjoyed the film I decided to give the book a go and see what I thought. I must say I really couldn't put it down, I read it in less than a week. The film compared to the book is different, the book has more of a build up to meeting Miranda and does feature her boyfriend and friend Lily more in it whereas the film only briefly features them. The ending in the book is also completely different and for me a much better ending than the film, having said that I did enjoy both and the film does cover a lot of what happens in the book.
I am not overly into "fashion" brands mentioned in this book but I still enjoyed reading about the fashion world. I think its an interesting read for those who have or have had difficult bosses as they might find something they can relate to with Andrea. I would say read the book before seeing the film because it is definitely better but both are still enjoyable.
Shockingly I have never seen the movie, but when I saw the book being sold at a charity event, I had to buy it, having heard that it's a highly entertaining story. I didn't actually have much idea what it would be about, but knew that it should be a fun read.
I believe the book was written in 2003, so it's now nearly 10 years old, and it belongs to the chick-lit genre. The story is based on a young woman called Andrea who has her first job as a junior fashion assistant to a powerful woman - Miranda, who is the chief editor of a very glamorous and well known magazine called Runway.
As part of the story we see Andrea getting a job at Runway - not somewhere that Andrea really aspires to work but she accepts the job in the hope that a years experience at the fashion magazine will open more promising doors for her as her real dream is to work in journalism. Indeed, she has heard that Miranda's previously hired assistants were able to simply name where they wanted to work next and Miranda, being so powerful, could get them jobs wherever they wanted. With this in mind, Andrea works as an assistant to Miranda, but the job turns out to be a nightmare, taking over Andrea's life and impacting on her personal relationships. For a start Miranda's unreasonable demands and unbelievably arrogant behaviour make for hard work. Coupled with the ridiculously long hours that Andrea is forced to do, her life is turned upside down.
This book turned out to be what I expected - it was a fun read. Whilst the story is all about how poor Andrea's life becomes a million times harder because of her new job, it's told in a funny way, and the reader is supposed to be entertained, not depressed as a result of reading it. Therefore it actually makes for light reading, as it's almost impossible to take any of it too seriously.
My only negative comment about the book would be that there is an awful lot of name-dropping. For example, throughout the story we are informed of various designers, fashion labels or famous people that Miranda knows, or maybe working with. At times I found this a little tiresome, maybe because I am not hugely into labels and designer goods myself. I suppose this negative aspect can probably be forgiven considering that the story does revolve around someone who works at perhaps the most prominent fashion magazine in America.
To conclude, I would say I enjoyed reading 'The Devil Wears Prada', and I now look forward to watching the movie (finally!)
Thanks for reading!
This is a review of the book "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger. I don't know how I managed to not see the film yet but I prefer that as it's always better to read the book first! I now want to see the film...
In the book, the story follows Andrea (or "An-Drea-aah" as her boss shouts her all the time) who has just left college and is looking for a first job. She's always fancied writing so applies to work at the top magazines to get a foot on the ladder.
By some sheer chance she ends up as a Personal Assistant to top fashion guru Miranda Priestley at Runway magazine. She knows nothing about fashion and has never even heard of Miranda. Good job really as she'd never have taken the job if she knew what a dragon she is and what a nightmare she is to work for.
As second assistant, Andrea is office dogsbody and has to do everything from picking up dry cleaning to collecting the cat from the vets. Every whim of Miranda's is catered for and this all takes its toll on Andrea's personal life which becomes non existent.
Trying to placate her family, friends and boyfriends is interspersed with urgent phone calls from the boss at all times of the day and we discover that life at Runway is not as glamorous as it's made out to be.
I had heard of the film so thought the book would be great but I found it to be a bit of a flimsy read and whilst I enjoyed all the bitching, gossip and glamour of this world (it reminded me of Ugly Betty a bit) I also thought Andrea was weak at times and needed to be a bit tougher. She still managed to find time to smoke whilst on her urgent missions and I just found that a bit irritating!
I'd say this is a good read for those who just want to take an easy amble into the New York fashion world. It didn't blow me away but I still want to see the film at some non-urgent point!
Choosing what book to bring on holiday is, for me just as hard as picking what outfits to bring, but this year I decided on The devil wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Now, I must tell you that I am one of these people that believes you should read the book before you watch the film version, as in most experiences the books are far better. But in this case I did not do this. I did watch the movie first. And now that I have read the book, I can defiantly say that I am glad I did as it is brilliant and in my opinion miles better than the movie.
Okay, so I should say first of all, that when I began to read the Devil wears Prada, I was immediately drawn into the story. And I honestly couldn't wait to keep on reading it.
The Devil wears Prada follows the story of Andrea, who has just taken a job as an assistant to an editor of a fashion magazine. Andrea knows that if she wants to make it and maybe someday become a successfully journalist, she must complete a year being a assistant. But unfortunately for Andrea that doesn't prove an easy ride, as her boss if demanding, difficult and the devil herself! Miranda Priestly is the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine and powerful woman in the fashion industry. She is feared by many and Andrea soon realises how much power and influence that Miranda Priestly has over others.
Acting as Miranda Priestly assistant/servant proves to be a full time job and begins to interfere with Andreas personal life. But that is not the only problem for Andrea, as she not only faces criticism from her boss, but from all of her colleges. Because working at a fashion magazine, is demanding as you must look just as stylish and thin as the models themselves on the front covers. Andrea learns quickly that "a million girls would die for her job" and if she wants to keep her position at Runway magazine, then she must change to show her boss that she is good at her job and takes it seriously.
I am very much interested in Journalism and so because of that I do like to read stories, like the Devil wears Prada, that centres around a fashion magazine. I found that it did not take me long at all to become hooked into the story as it doesn't have a slow beginning and the flow of the book is up-beat and fast paced. The author Lauren Weisberger, I think really explored each of her characters and this allowed the reader to feel as if they actually worked at runway magazine! The information about the characters that Andrea meets thought out the duration of her job, is given out slowly, so much so that it made me really want to read on to find out more about the characters. The author also through out the book shows the relationships Andrea has with her family, best friend and her boyfriend. I found this a very important part of the book, as it was interesting to see how Andreas new job affected all of the people in her life.
I don't know why, but I had low expectations for this book and I thin that was because the movie was ok, not great in my eyes. But now the devil wears Prada is one of my favourite book s and one I would not hesitate to pick up and read again!
This isn't the sort of book I'd normally read through choice but I was given it by a friend who claimed it was a fab read. Coupled with it being made into a hugely successful film I figured what the heck. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from a book with a stiletto on the front cover. Most definitely fashion based chick lit but nothing like the story contained within the pages.
No matter how bad my day at work is it could never compare to that of Andrea, lowly junior assistant to megalomaniac fashionista Miranda Priestly. Had I not known that the TV series Ugly Betty was a spin off of a Spanish daytime soap I would have thought it had been inspired by The Devil Wears Prada or vice versa the two have so much in common.
Half the time I was clueless as to the minutiae involved in the life of a fashion magazine executive and quite frankly I couldn't have cared less about some of the incredibly dull detail which to a worshiper of fashion was probably the best part of the book. Miranda Priestly has a reputation of being the worlds worst boss but shes not nearly as nasty as she could be and definitely not as spiteful as some of the bosses I've had. The tale is essentially a year in the life of an assistant to the editor where each and every day is a repetition of the previous one dictated by the random whims of a boss with an unlimited budget and way too much power. Lifes like that.
The author, Lauren Weisberger, manages to weave several background tales into the story but none of them are very credible. They all require you to make assumptions of Andreas reactions prior to commencing work for Miranda but insufficient detail is initially provided to enable you to do this.
It wasn't a particularly gripping read, it was a book I'd quite happily have abandoned without completion had I not been stuck for a week at my parents with a choice of this or one of several Mills & Boon romances to distract from Coronation Street.
Another original review from ciao! :- I have previously done a review on the devil wears Prada, the film and thought as I also had the book it was time to have reviews of both.
As you start to turn the pages of this book, we are met with a very stressed and unhappy woman who seems like she will snap any minute and have a nervous breakdown. She's trying to remember how to try a stick while under pressure as her boss wants her across town and back again in a ridiculous amount of time, while doing this her boss frequently calls her asking where she is and giving her yet more orders. Her expensive clothing ruined, she only has one thought left. How much she would like to her boss to die. But then, she decides that woudnt be a good idea because she wouldn't have the pleasure of killing her with her own hands, a line which really sums up how feared her boss is and life ruining she can be. Andy Sachs wasn't always like this, everything started when she walked into the offices of Runway magazine and met her future boss, Miranda Priestly.
This is actually a flash-forward, and she then goes back to the start to explain how everything started out. As a graduate from Brown, she wanted to make it big so moved to New York City hoping to become a journalist at the New Yorker, however though, it didn't quite go to plan so she signs on as Miranda's assistant after being told that in a year she can have any job that she wants. 'the job a million girls would die for,' soon Andy just might. Moral dilemmas ensue as her ever demanding boss puts more on her plate, seemingly impossible tasks and pressure is put on her relationships. Her job is becoming her life, what will happen next?
The characters are a real strength of the novel, and show a ruthless and cut throat side to fashion that people might have known existed before. There is also a contrast between the characters who work at Runway or are in the fashion industry, and the others who are totally innocent people that are so unlike the ones working at Runway.
Andy and Miranda are the main characters, at the beginning of the book they are total opposites apart, however they begin to change and be a bit more like each other, something that neither of them likes at all.
Andy comes from a small town background, and has recently graduated with an English degree, looking for the foot into journalism she becomes Miranda's assistant for a year. However, she totally doesn't fit in at Runway, compared to the other staff she is fat, frumpy and old fashioned when in fact she is just average and finding it hard to compete with her immaculately groomed colleagues.
Miranda is the massively successful editor of Runway who has managed to alienate just about everyone around her, except her twin daughters. People fear her and everyone tries their best to stay out her way, is this all just a facade?
Emily is the senior assistant to Andy's junior has been at Runway for years, and fits in perfectly to the stereotype of the skinny, tall and immaculately groomed wonderful member of staff. Emily worships Miranda, but Miranda doesn't think so much of her.
Alex is Andy's boyfriend, her jobs brings friction between them.
Lily is Andy's best friend and roommate, her job also brings a lot of friction between them.
Nigel is the very gay stylist who is a friend to both Andy and Miranda, the only one allowed to criticize her.
These characters are supported by a great and funny set of Runway staff, some very very gay and some more skinny, seemingly perfect women as you would expect.
Its said that Miranda Priestly is modelled on the editor of Vogue called Anna Wintour, something Wintour wasn't too impressed about, going as far as to ban her staff from even talking about the film or writing about in the magazine. I don't know anything about Wintour, but maybe somebody who does could see the resemblance.
It was received very well, and stayed on the New York Best Selling List for six months, a great achievement for a book thats been equalled by the likes of Harry Potter and Twilight. It has also been translated into 27 languages, and is read all over the world. Also the book was made into a movie,
The movie follows the basic premises of the book, but has some major differences. Starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, the characters change with Andy becoming more gentle and there's a greater contrast as Miranda becomes more snooty and seems to look down on everyone else more, even if her other side is shown. However, all of the main characters are retained and it does mainly stay true to the book. It was a film that I really enjoyed and I would recommend it.
It was written by Lauren Weisberger, and it was her debut book at the time but since then she has written lots of books in a similar, chick lit style such as Everybody Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston, I have read one of them and although I didn't think that it was anywhere near as good as the Devil Wears Prada.
I bought my copy as part of a buy one get one half price deal at WHSmith, I think without the offer it would have been about £6.99, but if you shop around then you can probably get it much cheaper.
Overall, I thought it was a great book, and I would highly recommend it especially if you like fashion or are a fan of the chick lit genre.
This novel follows Andrea Sachs while she attempts to work for a year as a junior assistant to a fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestley. The book follows the ups & downs, mainly downs, of working for such a demanding career focused woman such as Miranda who has no idea of how long it takes to get things done such as demanding her steak lunch be delivered in 15 minutes or Starbucks coffee the very second she arrives in to the office.
Andrea is basically treated like a slave for most of the time that she works for Miranda and she does feel that the job is way beneath her most of the time and this does show towards the end of the book in the way she treats her job. Miranda does take note of this but will she help Andrea get the foot up on the career ladder and get a job at The New Yorker or a similar publication, only time will tell.
This book is very well written and I was not disappointed in the slightest with a single second of reading it. Some aspects of this novel had that edge to it that made me not want to put it down. I polished the book off in just two nights of reading and it does have a fair amount of pages to keep most people occupied for a good few hours of reading.
This book is currently available in paperback from Amazon.co.uk for £5.00 with free super saver delivery and I would highly recommend it as it is another fantastic feel good book that you won't want to put down. I love this book and it's one that will be staying in my collection instead of heading down to the charity shop. I have actually read it a couple of times now and think that it transfer fabulously in to the film.
Lauren Weisberger has a fantastic writing style that just flows so well throughout the pages and I think that the characters in this book are fantastic and they work very well with one another throughout the book. I am rating this book 4/5 and would highly recommend it.
This book is a great read over and over again. Read it before or after watching the film and you'll love it just as much. Lauren Weisberger has found her niche for writing. Fashion fiction has become a hugely popular genre for books, film and television in the last 5 years and whilst it still seems all glamourous and gives you the usual cinderella transformation of normal frumpy girl makes it big in the big city, it feels realistic.
Andy Sach's boss Miranda and lead assistant are both members of the fashion world elite and the sort of people that graduates can expect to encounter in the working world.
Andy makes the right choices and gets the career she really wants but has a crazy year in getting there. The Devil Wears Prada draws you in and you get moments for months after where you're remembering the plot in intricate detail and picking it up again. Lauren Weisberger seems to be the new Candace Bushnell.
I read this book after seeing the film which I love. I was quite impressed how well the film had stuck to the book until the part when they go to Paris which is quite different. But I'll leave this for you to find out.
The book focuses on Andy who is a young woman wanting to be a successful writer she finds a job as Miranda Preistley's assistant which she is told will get her any job she wants after a year. What Andy doesn't know is that Miranda expects her to be at her beck and call any time day or night even on her days off.
Lauren Wiesberger has done a fantastic job of creating the boss from hell with her riduculous demands. This book is written in a gripping way I read this on quite a long train journey and got so drawn into the idea of Miranda needing things done straight away I began to fell worry at the same time Andy did.
The promise of promotion and future prospects from the job Andy eventually becomes drawn into the world of fashion and glamour she starts to turn into one of the girls she at first laughed at with bad consequences for her personal life.
The only problem with this book is in some places it seems a bit unbelievable yiu think why would anyone stay in a job like this but the story is entertaining nonetheless.
This book is great for some light reading it has some humour, romance and all the glamour of a high end fashion magazine but not just this. The story is well written and interesting. It is well worth a read.
This is one of my most favourite books ever. It is 391 pages long and was published in 2003. Is it really that long that it came out?
The author is Lauren Weisberger. She has also wrote "Everyone worth knowing" and "Chasing Harry Winstone". I have read all her books and this is the best by far.
The cover is a white cover with a Red shoe that has a devils prong for a heel.
The blurb on the back of the book says "High fashion, low cunning and the boss from hell. When Andrea first sets foot in the plush manhatten office of Runway she knows nothing. She's never heard of the world's most fashionable magazine or its feared and fawned-over editor Miranda Priestly. Soon she knows too much.
She knows it's a sackable offence to wear less than a three inch heel to work - but there'always a fresh pair of Manolos in the accessories. She knows that 8 stone is fat. That you can charge anything - cars, manicures, clothes to the Runway account, but you can never leave your desk or let Miranda's coffee get cold. That at 3am, when your boyfriend's dumping you because you're always working and your best friend's just been arrested, if Miranda phones with her latest unreasonable demand - you jump.
Most of all Andrea knows that Miranda is a monster boss who makes Cruella De Vil looks like a fluffy bunny. But this is her big break and it's all going to be worth it in the end - isn't it?
That sums up the book very well.
A bit about the author. Lauren lived in New York and worked as an assistant for a fashion magazine and it was there that she drew inspiration for this book. There has been rumours that the book was based on real life stories from someone who was working for Anna Wintor, the editor of Vogue, but these rumours haven't been confirmed or denied.
The story centres around Andrea, a woman with a dream to work in magazine publishing. After posting resumes at major magazines she gets an interview for to be an assistant at fashion magazine "Runway". She gets the job and becomes a 2nd assistant to "The boss from hell" Miranda Priestly. Her job seems to cover everything and anything. Wheather it be trying to charter a plane when all air travel is called off due to weather, getting the cat from the vet, getting the new Harry Potter book before it's published and so on. Miranda is demanding, doesn't want to wait and doesn't hear No as an answer, as Andrea is often reminded "A million girls would die for this job"
Throughout the book you see how the job is taking over Andreas life One by one she is losing her boyfriend, friends and family because she is running about town trying to please the boss.
I won't spoil anymore of the book and would recommend anyone to read this. It makes a great page turner and enjoyable if you like Chick Lit books
Lauren Weisberger gives a twist to the whiny story of a small town girl working under a high-powered fashion editor-in-chief.
Andrea Sachs is fresh out of college and finds herself the junior assistant to THE Miranda Priestley, fashion magazine, Runway, editor-in-chief. She had hoped that this job would land her the dream job at the New Yorker.
In a office that revolves around top labels like Prada, Armani, Versace, etc, Andrea stands out like a sore thumb in her G2000. But she is determined to fit in and last out a year of Miranda Priestley's tedious and ridiculously impossible demands. From delivering the not-in-stores-yet Harry Potter to Miranda's twin daughters to finding antiques in unknown shops, Andrea is expected to fulfill every demand to Miranda's expectations. Her motivation? A recommendation from Miranda that will get her a top job at any magazine of her choosing.
On her side is her boyfriend, Alex. He is sensitive, smart, the whole package. But along comes drop-dead gorgeous and arrogant Christian (not to mention he is also a famous writer) to give it all an interesting twist. Her friend Lisa, who is quite dependent on Andrea, is also by her side. With her new job, can Andrea juggle between spending time with Lisa and running impossible errands for Miranda? Also, is the job 'a million girls would die for' worth the ridiculous hours, the unbelievable stress, the people around her and ultimately, her soul?
With witty criticism at every corner at every setback, Weisberger gives the reader an entertaining and humorous experience.
I found this book an entertaining read. The descriptive writing style helps give the reader a clear insight to how Andrea feels and how things are around her.
However, the descriptive style was very extensive at some parts. It was just too distracting from the storyline. It was simply overly descriptive. This was the thing that had made me glad when I had finally finished the book.
I had begun this review highlighting Lauren Weisberger's craft to (almost) change this whiny story to something entertaining and interesting. But at some parts, the frustration just kicks as to how whiny Andrea was. Other than this, I was also annoyed with some of Andrea's dilemmas. She had managed to make a mountain out of a molehill out of some of the simpler things. The plot was also sometimes over the top and exaggerated.
Despite these gripes, I found it a pretty good read. Even though I had felt slightly glad that the story ended, I had also felt that it ended too soon. The read was witty and was definitely entertaining. For example, some of the lines that come out from Miranda's mouth are truly sarcastic and hilarious. My kind of humour. And of course, this book has been adapted to the big screen as well, an indication of its laugh-factor. Even for those not interested in fashion, you will appreciate this story as well!
Thanks for reading, have a good day.
The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger.
"Sassy, insightful and sooo Sex and the City, you'll be rushing to the bookshop for your copy like it's a half-price Prada sale."
- Company magazine
I have read this book twice now. The first time was over a year ago when I was ill and couldn't move out of bed. My friend brought me a pile of her books to borrow for some entertainment. However most of it was heavy going, not what you want in that situation. I chose it because it looked like light reading. The first time I thought it was fantastic, I literally couldn't put it down, it was that good. The second time was a few days ago! I borrowed it off my sister after she brought it from Waterstones on a 3 for 2 offer. I had totally forgotten about this book, because after I saw the film I definately wasn't impressed.
Andrea Sachs (or Ahn-dre-ah to her boss, Miranda Priestly) is an aspiring writer who has just been travelling after graduating from her degree at Browns. After suffering a bout of dysentry, she delivers her CV's around various publication houses in New York City. She is surprised to get an interview at the Elias Clarke building. When she has an interview, she is rather horrified that she is being pushed by a HR woman towards being an assistant to Miranda Priestly (not that Andrea has heard of her) for Runway magazine! It's a fashion magazine for pitys sake! However if Miranda is so famous, surely Andrea is in the right place for eventually getting to The New Yorker? But she soon finds that Miranda is more infamous than famous...
This book is slightly biographical, in that Lauren Weisberger worked for Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue. She felt out of place in the fashion magazine world. Although she didn't seem to have a problem with Anna Wintour ;)
I absolutely loved this book, I like the way Andrea has to chose what's important. When her best friend Lily is taken in to hospital, but Andrea is with Miranda in Paris. She gets fired, but is clearly a firm believer in going out in style. This is the best bit of the book, in my opinion is how Andrea leaves Paris, but the film doesn't stick to the book which I didn't like.
The book is jam packed with description of people around her, for example, the fashion people who want to dress up Andrea to stop her from her unfashionable ways, to Mirandas quirks, which can often ruin Andreas entire day and even night when she phones at 3am.
The best characters in this book for me, were the gay men in the fashion department - Nigel and James. Nigel is way more camp in the book than in the film and far less serious which I thought was great. They dress her up in fabulous designer clothes and dislike her "gap" image. They make fun of her, but in a lighthearted way. James is not portrayed in the film at all, which I think gives the book something extra in terms of the moral message, because after she leaves Runway, James keeps in contact with Andrea, whereas Mirandas other assistant denies ever knowing her.
I also liked the character of Emily, who is the complete opposite of Andrea. She believes to the letter, what anyone who has heard of Miranda Priestly says to Andrea: that a million girls would die for the job. But to Andrea it is just a hollow phrase. Although she verges on shallow, (well slightly more than 'verges on' but you see what I mean) but when push comes to shove, she will stand up for Andrea to Miranda.
This book is one of my absolute favourites. I don't think it will ever get old and everyone I have spoken to about it has enjoyed it and I've not heard a bad word about it.
Amazon prices this book at £3.99 which is an absolute bargain for such a fantastic book when the retail price is £7.99.
Published by Harper.
This book is fantastic I haven't even finished it yet but I'm giving it a thumbs up review.
It's sooo entertaining. I feel a bit stupid sitting on my own laughing out loud but I cannot help it. Laura Weisberger is a genius. I can see why they made it into a film wich I'm going to buy and watch once I have finished the book of course.
It's such an easy read and I was pulled in from the start.
It's about a girl called Andrea whos is of course not at all interested in Fashion she gets a job working for a publishing company called Elisa Clarke who run the fabulouse Runway Fashion Magazine. She has the awful job of being the personal Assistant to Miranda Priestly The Editor in Chif of Runway who is of course the Devil in size zero.
Why does she not just leave? She dreams of working for the New Yorker and aparently after one year as Mirandas assistant she can name the job of her chioce.
Will she loose her soul along the way I will have to keep reading......
After reading so many books recently all with similar storylines, I went in search for something very different. Something that was particularly easy to read and light on the mind. Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada was what I found to try and fulfil my simple requests. After being turned into a hugely successful film and the fact that it spent over six months on the New York Times Bestseller's list, was this international hit the very thing I needed?
This 'chick lit' novel follows the life of Andrea Sachs, as a newly hired assistant to Miranda Priestly, the most famous fashion magazine editor on the planet. As soon as she steps into the office for the first time however, she begins to realise that this is a world where she doesn't belong, but if she puts up with ridiculous demands, the long hours, the awful negative put downs for just one year, and then she will be able to get the very journalism job she's always wanted.
As month after month goes by however, Andrea starts to push all of her friends and family away as she starts to transform into the stereotype she swore wouldn't become. Her relationship with her long-term boyfriend, Alex, starts to suffer and she fails to notice that her best friend has a serious drinking problem, all because she begins to get too wrapped up in the glamour of Runway Magazine. All of the bitchiness and all of the drama eventually comes to a head in Paris where the most prestigious fashion week is proving too much for Andy to cope with.
With nineteen chapters consisting of over 350 pages, The Devil Wears Prada isn't a short read but you will be surprised to see just how quickly the pages seem to fly by. The thing with the storyline though is that at times not a lot really happens and you begin to realise that the pages are made up of pointless details that are used to just further the story rather than provide any entertainment. The main problem in the story is that there isn't a balance of anything, so at times you are left without a hook to carry on reading with.
It is obviously written for a female audience and some of the personal details within the book are extremely funny and this is the main advantage that the novel has. The humour is also very developed and can come in the form of a situation or simply a conversation and it is these hysterical, side splitting moments that keep the readers there, whether it's the bitchy sarcastic comments between Andy and Emily (Senior assistant) or the fact that Andy wont be allowed to get into the elevator unless she stands and sings along to a Spice Girls track whilst dancing in 7 inch heels, you'll keep turning the pages to see what else happens to our main protagonist as she works for the boss from hell.
Weisberger's writing style is predictable and very similar to that of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary. It lacks a lot of visual detail and instead uses Brand names as if they alone would give suffiecient description to the clothes and accessories featured so heavily. I may be speaking biasly obviously because I'm male, but im sure the majority of females would be baffled by the lack of adjectives. Is a 'gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress' or a 'Yves saint Laurent studded belt' enough detail to warrant a reaction? I think not.
The whole tone of the book is extremely colloquial or gossip like and this is reflected by the overly easy language, but there is no need for any complicated lexis as this would seem out of place with the rest of the book. The effect on the whole keeps it very down to earth and allows character recognition. Taboo is also used throughout with swear words appearing every now and again and only reinforces the colloquial feel.
However what this simple first person narrative does provide a great detail of is characterisation. Both realistically and entertainingly, The Devil Wears Prada allows all of the characters in the book to connect and interact with one another on a equable level, but as it is written from Andy's perspective it also gives us the chance to see into her very own imagination. However this works in both ways, because at first you do begin to feel exceptionally sorry for Andrea as she hurtles her way down mid-town traffic to go back to Starbucks again for the fifth time (as Miranda's first four latte's weren't hot enough) or when she is practically bullied for being 'too fat' to fit in with the rest of the staff at Runway. When you see the changes start to happen though, examples include her being ignorant of her boyfriend because she is too tired or when she rationalises not to eat because a '$2000 suit wouldn't fit a fat girl', you start to question what she is doing. Is this journalism job really worth it? Upon first thoughts you'd get the impression that what Weisberger wants her readers to do, but it eventually goes too far, for example when Alex and Andrea break up, the latter is so mad at him for being too selfish and not understanding her situation despite it all being her fault. When she realises this, she still falls for the charms of another man (Christian) and as the reader you know it is all for the wrong reasons. Ultimately what this does is force you not to feel any pity for Andrea but actually not really care for the character at all and if you don't care for its main character why should you care for the story, which overall acts as anticlimax at the end anyway.
Despite its major faults, the use of overbearing themes works for the books favour. It is easy to notice the numerous references to snobbery and that is primarily of great interest for the reader, because Andrea constantly is shocked at just how snobby people's attitudes are towards other people, whether it is their dress size, dress sense, hair colour or rank. As the reader we can see how Andrea herself falls victim to this theme. Many times she looks down upon people including her brother in law purely because he is from Texas. What this does is make our main character not perfect, as no human is, and therefore keeps the book very pragmatic and real.
This 2003 novel isn't great and relies too much on its subject matter to capture the readers' attention. When it is funny, it's fantastically hysterical, but for the rest it is heavily clichéd, predictable and a tad bit too boring. You can't help wonder if you take out all of the bitchiness and gossip what exactly you'll be left with. Its realistic and colloquial tone helps you connect with the book and on a certain level its cast of characters but because of the main protagonists behaviour, you'll switch off because you just don't care enough for her to wonder if she'll make it past that dreaded year and get the job she longs for. If you're looking for a light read this may be it but I guarantee you, there are better novels out there.
Other Novels by Lauren Weisberger
Chasing Harry Winston
Everyone Worth Knowing
You would enjoy The Devil Wears Prada if you like any of the following books:
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
(as of 1/06/08)
All that I ask for in light fiction is entertainment and escapism with perhaps a little empathy thrown in to give flavour to the story. It doesn't bother me too much if scenarios are a little unlikely, after all fiction is escapism and one shouldn't expect any great literary masterpiece. After the hype of the film - which I haven't seen and which I understand has a different ending to the book - The Devil Wears Prada perfectly met my criteria.
Written by Lauren Weisberger in 2003, The Devil Wears Prada is written in the first person by Andrea Sachs who lands the job "a million girls would kill for" as personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor and absurd virago of Runway, a New York fashion magazine.
Andrea is a country girl and recent university graduate who had set her sights on becoming a columnist for the New York Times. But applications to the NYT go unanswered and even though she knows nothing about fashion and cares even less, for reasons I never did find out but really wanted to know, she snatches the dream job of a million girls without even trying.
Maybe the fact that Andrea had just returned from travelling in India where a bout of amoebic dysentery gives her the stick thin body necessary to work at Runway and all the other applicants were grossly overweight at 6 stone - who knows? She only takes this poisoned chalice of a job with Runway to gain the experience she thinks will look good on her CV. Everyone knows that Miranda Priestly is a demanding, unrealistic and powerful woman but a job with her is a ticket to any job in publishing - assuming that Andrea can survive a year of working for her.
The awfulness of Miranda Priestly and how Andrea coped with her and everything that was thrown at her, held my interest. Most of us, at some time, have worked for horrid people and I was interested to know how she dealt with the boss from hell.
Many of Andrea's other colleague come across as shallow, forelock tugging creeps; all of them despising their editor but afraid to speak out. Apparently, the kudos of working for the bitch of the fashion world plus the perks of the job in general, ensure they quash any charitable thoughts or sympathy towards whichever co-worker is being bullied by their wicked boss. It's every man and woman for themselves. I don't know for sure, because I've never worked in an environment so rarefied as the fashion industry, but some of the storyline rings true from what I glean from newspaper and magazine gossip pages. If it's in the papers, it must be true. Right?
In contrast, the character of Andrea's irritatingly sweet and pure boyfriend makes me want to hurl but his halo does serve to highlight the badness of the baddies.
According to those in the know, this book is a thinly veiled exposé of the author's real-life ex-boss. Lauren Weisberger was once personal assistant to Anna Wintour, the British born editor of American Vogue who has a reputation for tyranny.
I'm not one for gossip but if the tales are to be believed, then the similarities between the fictional Miranda Priestly and the real-life Anna Wintour are noteworthy. Like Priestly, Wintour is British, has two young children and serves on the Board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tyrannical Priestly makes impossible demands of her underlings, by accident or design she gives them almost no or false information and pathetically little time to fulfil her demands and then scolds them for their failures to do so.
Shadowy former employees of Wintour have made similar accusations about her and prior to this book's publication, Wintour told the New York Times: "I always enjoy a great piece of fiction. I haven't decided whether I am going to read it or not".
Reader reviews (that's people like you and me - not the absurd gushings of publishers and book sellers likely to profit from sales of the book) have been mixed. Some have damned it as badly written whilst others have loved it. My own view is that I found it entertaining and because of my own work situation at the time, the plot whilst obviously seemingly OTT to the casual reader, was all too believable to me!
If you are interested in fashion, the fashion world and its designers then you will find the behind-the-scenes information to be fascinating. Fashion hype has never appealed to me but the heroine's tussle with her arrogantly rude boss, was enough to keep me turning the pages. Will the story's victim of fashion triumph at the end?
Is this a new genre? After chick-lit and mommy-dearest plots, can we now enjoy bite-the-boss fiction?
Thanks for reading.
© Louise Saunders - 2007
The Devil Wears Prada: Available from Amazon from £0.68p
It's a killer title: The Devil Wears Prada. And it's killer material: author Lauren Weisberger did a stint as assistant to Anna Wintour, the all-powerful editor of Vogue magazine. Now she's written a book, and this is its theme: narrator Andrea Sachs goes to work for Miranda Priestly, the all-powerful editor of Runway magazine. It turns out Miranda is quite the bossyboots. That's pretty much the extent of the novel, but it's plenty. Miranda's behaviour is so insanely over-the-top that it's a gas to see what she'll do next, and to try to guess which incidents were culled from the real-life antics of the woman who's been called Anna Nuclear Wintour. For instance, when Miranda goes to Paris for the collections, Andrea receives a call back at the New York office (where, incidentally, she's not allowed to leave her desk to eat or go to the bathroom, lest her boss should call). Miranda bellows over the line: I am standing in the pouring rain on the rue de Rivoli and my driver has vanished. Vanished! Find him immediately!