Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger


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The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Rating: 3.25 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses. 

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 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.
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Review: Thanks for all your sweet comments on last week's post about my recent book slump.  I am happy to report that I've actually read a book since then!  And while I'm happy to have finally finished a book, I have a confession to make: I've only said this about three other times in my life, but, folks, I liked the movie better.

The book was a solid read.  Enjoyable, though not quite as satisfying as I had hoped.  I enjoy interior design quite a bit, and since design and fashion are happy bedfellows, I felt I was at least tangentially connected to this field.  I was curious to see Andy's take on this world.

And it was interesting to me, though it would have been more fun to read about if there were a few more happy scenes splattered in there.  I needed a few more reasons why Andy chose to stay at Runway other than because she thought Miranda could land her a job anywhere after her year in the trenches was complete.  As it was, she obviously wasn't trying very hard to impress Miranda, what with her half hour long coffee runs that she stretched out in order to smoke and/or call her boyfriend.  She seemed more inclined to complain than to just do her best for the one year she had the job.  I'm not saying her job wasn't complainable, but hearing complaints for that long gets grating to a reader.

The book and the film are actually quite different, which I hadn't realized going into it.  The biggest reason I prefer the film over the book is because the film has a more concrete story arc.  The book was more an itemization of all the bad things the protagonist had to deal with at work, and how it affected her personal life. The bad things were pretty incredible, sometimes hilariously so, and that kept me turning pages.

Most notably, to me, was the final status of Andy and Miranda's relationship at the end of the novel.  In one, they hold a distant but firm mutual admiration for one another; in the other their last scene literally ends with one of them cussing out the other in public.  In the book, Andy holds a sizable amount of disdain for her job, her boss, and the entire fashion industry.  In the film, she gets seduced by it until she finally has to choose whether to let herself get swept away by it or to get out completely.  I have to admit, I thought her never ending disdain in the book was a little annoying.  She is constantly complaining about all the (understandably) over-the-top things her boss expects of her on a regular basis.  But here's the thing:  I've worked for demanding people before.  I've worked at jobs I didn't enjoy.  I can empathize with her feelings of frustration.  But I cannot understand why she didn't just quit.  If she hated it that badly, and if it was so completely ruining her personal life, surely there was a better way to arrive at her career goals.  

Still, I can see why this book was so hot a decade ago when it came out.  It was thought-provoking to consider what my personal Runway addictions are.  I'm not working at an insanely demanding magazine, but there are certainly demands on my life and time.  We all have demands like that.  It caused me to stop and consider which of those demands are worth it, which are possibly unhealthy, and which should be rethought.  

In the end, though, although I'm glad I read it, I still think the movie trumps the book on this one.  If for no other reason than because Meryl Streep is phenomenal in it.

Review in a GIF:
the devil wears prada animated GIF

Bottom Line: Not without issues, but still an interesting and mostly entertaining read.  Especially if you've ever had an impossible boss before.  I'd recommend seeing the film over reading the book, though.  Meryl Streep is a fantastically horrible Miranda Priestly.

6 comments:

  1. I'm actually not a huge fan of the movie so I doubt I'd ever read the book but I'm glad you got a book read during your slump. As for movies being better than the book. It happens. I wrote a post on it once. There's quite a few.

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    1. It may not happen often, but it does happen! I also prefer the Lord of the Rings films to the books. So clearly there are exceptions to the book-is-always-better rule.

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  2. I like the movie better too. I actually only gave this book 1 star because it just kept going on and on and on and on and I really didn't like Andi. I'm glad that you were able to finish it, though, and have it help you through your reading slump. :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad too. Andy did tend to go on a lot in the books, I can totally see where you're coming from.

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  3. I actually want to read this one because I enjoyed this movie so much! But it is pretty surprising to hear that they are so different in the end, but then again, lots of movies do that. I am glad you were still able to reasonably enjoy it though.

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    1. Yeah, I enjoyed both well enough, though I think if I had to choose, I'd rather watch the film again than read the book. It was an interesting and compelling enough read, but the film has Meryl Streep, so.

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