Friday, October 26, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada - Book Review

The Devil Wears Prada
By Lauren Weisberger
Doubleday 2003

This is for the Book to Movie challenge. I'm having a hard time finding books that I like and want to read. I tried The Black Dahlia and The Hoax, but both books were boring. So I borrowed this one from the library and read that. I saw the movie last year like everyone else - might get it out and watch it again actually.


We all know the story. Andrea (Andy) Sachs, finishes college, and hopes to get a job with a magazine as a writer. But after months of looking, the only magazine where she can get a job, at is Runway, a top of the line fashion magazine. So Andy is hired to be the second assistant to the Editor in Chief. Her name is Miranda Priestley. Miranda is a perfectionist - and that's putting it nicely. She expects her assistants to live for her, and be available 24/7 to do anything she demands. Miranda gives all her assistants cell phones, and thus they effectively become slaves on a leash, because everytime that cell phone rings, they cannot say, No. They must say "Yes Miranda" and go do whatever they are told.

In the movie, Miranda may be a b***h, but I feel that maybe she was toned down, just a little. In the book, I think she was a lot worse. I also did not like the fact in the book, that Andy was a smoker. In the movie she's not. Also In the book, Miranda is British, and has an English accent. In the movie, obviously she is American.

Andy found herself losing her boyfriend (Nate in the movie, Alex in the book), because she could not commit to keeping any date they tried to arrange. Even in the middle of a date, if that cell phone rang, Andy had to do what she was told.

Andy had no choice, but to change her style. Everything she wore was criticised, and frowned on. There were clothes available for the taking, this is a fashion magazine after all. Andy lasted 4 months wearing her own style (mostly second hand clothes) before she caved in and started wearing the required fashions, including high heeled shoes and fashionable boots. Actually Andy had a choice, but she chose to stay there and put up with being treated like sh*t.

"A Million girls would kill for this job".
This is why Andy hung on for so long. This line is repeated a number of times in the book. One thing that Miranda asks for is 2 copies of the latest Harry Potter book that (at the time) was not yet released. Andy manages to accomplish this task. Running out for coffee, getting Miranda's lunch and snacks, and generally being the gofer girl, is Andy's job. She does no writing at all, except for letters and other correspondence.

At the end of the book, Emily (the first assistant) falls ill and is unable to attend the latest fashion shows in Paris. Andy gets to go instead, but while she is there, her best friend Lily, has a DUI accident back in New York. She ends up in hospital in a coma, and when Andy gets the message, she chooses not to drop everything to return home to help Lily get batter. No, she chooses to stay in Paris.

Until Miranda asks the impossible. Her daughters passports have expired, and Andy must get them renewed in just a few hours, so that the daughters can fly to Paris. Andy knows that while she has learnt to many things, demanding that the federal government renew two passports in 3 hours is not one of them. Andy finally realises that Miranda is asking the impossible, and she makes her choice. She swears at Miranda, and yes, she used the F word.

I felt that the book was a whinefest. Yes parts of it were funny, but most of it was Andrea being a slave to her cell phone. All Andrea did was whine, whine, whine about how bad the boss was. If I was in that same situation, I certainly would not have made it a test to see how long I could stay.

If I were in that situation, I would not have lasted one week before leaving. I prefer to wear clothes that are comfortable. Ironically enough, when I went to enroll at college recently, I had to do an English assessment, since I did not graduate from an Ontario High School. This assessment included grammar and spelling tests, and writing an essay. I chose to write a short essay on whether or not cellphones were a good thing or a bad thing. I wrote the cell phones were bad because they are so intrusive, and noone observes the proper etiquette when using them. The last line I wrote was "And that is why I do not own a cell phone". I don't have a Blackberry either - for the same reason.

Personally, I actually preferred the movie to the book. The movie had its really funny moments.

5 comments:

Maria said...

I am loving your blog! I might have to participate in those challenges right along with you. I love to read! Check out a couple of recommendations over on my blog.

Maria
www.jubileeonearth.com

Anonymous said...
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BookGal said...

I actually liked the book a bit more than you did. My review is here.

Red Room Librarian said...

I read this a while ago, and I thought it was a very engaging story; however, the dialog was really distracting. The movie was great. It's interesting how some movies actually improve the book. That's what happened here.

If you liked this, read The Nanny Diaries. Same basic premise, but much better written.

Historia said...

I've already read the Nanny Diaries. Am now waiting for the movie to come out on DVD.