on 6 November 2011
Although it did use some novelistic devices successfully, this book reads for the most part as a litany some abused, overworked young woman would share over drinks, phone, or email with her friends. The fact that she is smart makes it at least entertaining in that particular way we enjoy a smart self-righteous friend who is whining all the time, and so frustrated by her life that she injects a lot of punch in her words to convey this frustration.
The protagonist's goal of writing for The New Yorker doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Mentioning that she had stacked five years' worth of The New Yorker issues doesn't do it; the reader expects the writing to be quite the adventure -- and it isn't. It's bland, run-of-the-mill dialogue and prose that includes far too many knee-jerk verbal reactions.
The book is too much about Andrea and Miranda, and life at the office. After a while it gets old. I liked the passages about her relationship with Andy, Lily, and her family far better, and wished there had been more of those. Both the material and her writing seem to be more interesting in those passages.
I didn't sympathize with the protagonist all the time. True, her boss's demands were outrageous, but the way she wiped her greasy hands on her dirty clothing, or considering -- even considering -- spitting in her coffee was too much. The character in the movie is far more likeable, I think.
I can't remember when the book stopped surprising. It seems that the character of Miranda is so predictable that it wouldn't warrant 360 pages in very small print (in my Broadway Books edition). Same with Andrea. She doesn't seem to grow as a person much. She simply gets fed up. Maybe the story ends too abruptly. I would have liked to see Andrea actually lay out her priorities and discuss them a little bit. Instead, there's one scene where she picks up her baby nephew, whom she describes as "almost hysterical," and another where she sells her clothes for $38,000 and is happy she has a year to worry only about, you guessed it, her writing. She mentions wanting Alex in her life, but is not very convincing as to why that is, actually, since all she talks about is another gig for Seventeen magazine, with a story about yet another one-dimensional character who puts her life on hold in order to make it into the college of her choice.
Anyway. It was fun to hear Andrea prattling away, but I ended up being much more fed up with her than with Miranda. Miranda may have been the impossible boss, but, despite all of Andrea's calling her an unhappy character, the woman had a life outside her job, and was honoring it.
Recent graduate Andrea Sachs has landed a job millions of girls would die for. She hears this constantly, yet working for magazine editor in chief Miranda Priestly is not all it's cracked up to be. Gritting her teeth and reluctantly sucked into the fashion world, Andy's only shining light is that if she can last a year working for Miranda, she can possibly land a dream job writing for The New Yorker newspaper.
Miranda becomes the focal point of Andy's life, as the latter attempts to anticipate the needs of a woman impossible to please and unable to appreciate how hard she works. Miranda makes nothing easy for poor Andy; from wanting the latest Harry Potter books shipped to her daughters in Paris to tracking down restaurant reviews without specifying either the name of the restaurant or the reviewing newspaper. As a result, Andy's personal life begins to crumble; she never has time for her boyfriend Alex, her best friend Lily or her parents and sister. Yet there is a certain allure to the glitzy world Andy now inhabits; beautiful clothes, fantastic parties, and some breathtakingly handsome men.
Andy is a likeable character throughout this book; from her initial naivety and ignorance of the fashion world to her growing cynicism, and she remains likeable even at her most down trodden after dealing with a particularly fruitless or ludicrous order from Miranda or placating a boyfriend who feels that he is no longer important to her. She is the ultimate nice girl dealing with a monster of a boss, yet even this nice girl can display a feisty side and take pleasure in envisaging Miranda's gory death. Miranda isn't so much a devil in Prada, more a complete and utter bee-atch in any designer label designated the current "it". This woman; with her wealth, influence and outlandish expectations, is so far removed from the real world that her life would be farcical, if not for the reader understanding the stress and panic of the unacknowledged underlings who make sure Miranda's life runs exactly to her requirements. "The Devil Wears Prada" is an enjoyable, entertaining read as Andy struggles with a job that has taken over her entire life and a highly recommended commuter read. Having a bad day at work? Read this book and laugh, sympathise and cringe with Andy and you'll have a much better day.
on 17 July 2010
The hype surrounding this book when it originally came out was phenomenol and a film version swiftly followed, but without sounding too cynical about a book that I quite enjoyed, I still can't quite understand why. The Devil Wears Prada tells the story of Andrea (Andy) who, straight out of college and home from travelling, is hired as the junior assistant to Miranda Priestly, the tyranical (and some would say, mentally unstable) boss at Runway magazine. Andrea believes this is her big break - work a year for Miranda and the door will be open to all sorts of possibilities, including the one thing she desperately wants, a writers job at The New Yorker.
The thing I found difficult to comprehend and sympathise with, is just how much Andy puts up with from Miranda. Demanding phone calls, day and night, ludicrous requests (finding her car and driver when she's in Paris and Andy is in New York) and just down right rudeness are all traits that would have me running for the hills faster than you could say Dolce & Gabana. And there in lies the problem; Andrea puts up with a hell of a lot for little or no reward. She's treated like an idiot, deemed fat because she dares to eat in the office at her desk (and in front of the boss!) and is constantly made to feel like some sort of fashion clothes horse with everyone around her constantly commenting or critising her fashion taste (or lack there of). With treatment like this it wouldn't have taken me long to tell everyone to '**** off and leave me alone' but Andrea is obviously a glutton for punishment. She sacrifices her family, friends and her relationship for an ungrateful boss who can barely remember her name, never mind anything else about her.
I was constantly waiting throughout the book for Miranda to get her comeupance, but sadly it never happened. The conclusion, when Andrea finally comes to her senses and makes the right decision, just left me feeling flat. And the ending was a little too conveniently wrapped up for my liking. Also, and I know this sounds stupid when the whole premise of the book is based in and around the fashion world, but there were too many references to fashion labels for my liking. Half the time I had no idea who she was referring too and the times that I did recognise a designer, I was too busy trying to work out some coloquial reference to New York and its native people. Having never been to New York, I found myself reading passages without having a single clue what on earth was going on!
Having said all this I've still rated TDWP as a 3/5 - if you can get past all the fashion references, the evil boss and the lack of back bone on Andrea's behalf, this is quite a readable book. It won't leave any lasting memories, and I certainly won't be at the front of the cue to read any more of Weisberger's books in a hurry, but it passed the time and it wasn't too excruiating in the process.
on 8 November 2007
In this work a day world, a bit of escapism is always a good thing, but as the title of my review would suggest, I was simply bored by this book.
What started off as a good read, quickly declined as I waited, and waited...and waited for our protagonist to do something about the situation she was in. I was propelled to read in the vain hope that something significant might happen to Andrea, but 2 thirds of the way through, I gave up and skipped through to the end. I will not ruin the ending for those who still wish to read the book, but my advice would be not to. You're better off finding something that can maintain your attention through out the length of the book, not just the beginning.
on 9 April 2007
I thought I would enjoy this - as I have heard about the hype, etc, but it was dull. Andrea, the main character and narrator was one-dimensional, nothing much happened (apart from Miranda the boss being bossy) and I really didn't care what happened to any of them by the time I got to the end! Oh well... NEXT!
on 21 July 2008
After having enjoyed the film, I picked the book up a few months ago and only just read it. I can't help feeling that some of the negative reviewers have missed the point, I found it really quite un-put-downable! No it's not great literature, but it's really well paced and very readable. I'm not a fashion fan and I was appalled by the description of the fashion industry with its wasteful and excessive materialism. The lack of basic humanity shown by Miranda's character angered me. I wouldn't have sacked Andrea as per other reviewers, and no, I could never feel 'sorry' for a monster like Miranda! I didn't think she whined, she was witty! Andrea never got to use any of her literary or intellectual talents for Runway, and I felt that Miranda was like a spoilt child expecting people to 'fix' silly little things for her from the other side of the world if necessary, and at unreasonable and ungodly hours with the threat of being sacked for not succeeding! I don't remember the film as having as much clout as the book so I'm going to rent it out again just to see. I'm surprised at the mixed reviews. As for advice for would-be purchasers, I suppose if you are after some light holiday reading and you are skeptical of the fashionistas of this world and would enjoy hating 'the boss (and system) from hell' I say give it a whirl!
Andy is a sweet young graduate just out of college who wants to write for The New Yorker. Instead, she finds herself working out a year as the junior assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, the most powerful woman in fashion - and perhaps one of the most spectacular love-to-hate characters of chick-lit.
I really enjoyed this book as a light and entertaining read, primarily for the acidic portrait of Miranda Priestly and the power she wields not just over her colleagues, but over the entire fashion world. Allegedly based on Anna Wintour of Vogue, the increasingly demented demands of Andy's boss become almost surreal as Andy strives to juggle her job, her parents, her love life and her friends.
As a memoir, this is great but I have to admit that the fictionalising of Andy's life feels very thin, predictable and obvious. Strands that feel like they should be important - for example, Christian, the attractive writer - simply fizzle out without going anywhere, and the issue of personal integrity vs. professionalism is very one-sided.
That said, this is funny in a dreadful kind of way, and Andy has enough charm to keep the whole thing buoyant. So I enjoyed the exposé aspect of the book, but as fiction it doesn't quite work.
This was a fun listen!
I don't usually favour Chick-lit, but as an abridged audiobook, this was most enjoyable. I think in its full, unabridged version it may have grown a bit wearing, but this was spot-on. 6 hours of mileage just slipped by with Rachel Leigh Cook's excellent narration.
Miranda Priestly was the (hopefully) exaggerated, nightmare boss, and poor Andrea gets the plum job of being her assistant. Aided by Emily, who had endured the job for the previous year, Andrea manages to fulfill every one of Miranda's outrageous requests, until a call for passports to be renewed in 3 hours from a foreign country is the final straw.
I've never worked in an office, or a corporate environment, and this is certainly not going to make me feel I've missed out! Listening to this in the car on the school run was quite close enough.
My only complaint was the rather excessive description of the designer clothes that each character wore. Although the action centred around the fashion magazine, Runway, this did get a bit much after a while.
I shan't read the full version but I might watch the film at some stage.
on 7 January 2007
Many people I know, as well as myself, decided to buy this book after seeing the great film. However, I think the story lends itself to a film rather than a book, as it did seem to drag on for too long. It was a very easy read but wasn't at all hard to put down and at times had me thinking "Why am I reading this?" as it was very dull in parts. The book does have some funny scenarios but overall a very uninspiring read. I would recommend the film rather than the book for a few easy laughs without the monotomy.
on 27 October 2003
I bought this book with high hopes as the title caught my eye and the fact that the author was once an assistant to Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief at American Vogue. I expected a sassy, witty book and what I actually got was quite disappointing.
The book isn't groundbreaking. It doesn't reveal anything about the fashion world that we didn't already know. She constantly talks about the "anorexic models" as if we were oblivious to the fact that most models are underweight. And none of the characters are endearing; the main character, Andrea Sachs, is generally quite boring. Their personalities don't develop during the time you are reading.
The book is a fun, rainy-day read, but don't expect much from it. You always knew what was going to happen next, especially with the Miranda Priestly, who provides the title for the book.
For someone who has worked in the fashion industry, there is no excuse for referring to Alberta Ferreti as "Alberto Ferreti".
Read if you're bored, but don't expect anything new. The plot is non-existent and the book in general just left me feeling unfulfilled.