The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job "a million girls would die for." Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
The Devil Wears Prada gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about "The Boss from Hell." Narrated in Andrea's smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda's children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day - and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.
The author, Lauren Weisberger, worked as the assistant to Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine for just ten months. Some say that the Weisberger based the nasty book on her former boss. However, Ms. Wintour refuses to comment on the book.
When Weisberger left the job at Vogue and started working at another publication, she still felt that she wasn't writing enough. She then joined a writing workshop to keep her creative juices flowing. Her novel evolved from a project that she was completing for the workshop. When her story grew to 100 pages, her teacher suggested that she pursue it. Once it was shown to an agent, it was sold one week later.
But is this a tell-all book of her own experience, or a figment of her imagination? You decide.
I couldn't identify with the character of Andrea Sachs, an aspiring writer who emerges from school and thinks she has landed the perfect job as a junior assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine, Miranda Priestly. It doesn't matter that Andrea doesn't particularly like fashion, or that the main reason she got the position is because she is 5'10" and 115 lbs. She neglects her family, her alcoholic best friend, and boyfriend for a job that she hates and a boss who cannot get her name right. Only after months of abuse does Andrea realize that being a doormat may not be worth the highly coveted recommendation from Miranda.
Although we are all meant to fear Miranda, the boss from hell, she comes across as a one-dimensional character. She'd be the villain in a badly written Disney movie, doing nothing more than cackling at small children and stealing their pets. I was actually surprised to learn that Miranda had children herself, and not eaten them after birth. It's hard to become involved in Andrea's plight when Weisberger glosses over mundane details like character development or motivation.
If you are looking for light reading material and have an interest in fashion then this may be fun. Otherwise, wait for the movie. On video. ¤ Shari
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA: out of 5