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3.6 out of 5 stars
The Devil Wears Prada
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 9 August 2006
I was really surprised to read all the so-so reviews about this book. I picked it up in an English Bookshop in Spain, needing something light-hearted after Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and while I wouldn't dare compare the two books (the latter is a work of genius) I found The Devil Wears Prada a great book to lounge on the beach with.

It tells the story of Andrea Sachs, a college graduate who lands a job as personal assisstant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of fashion bible Runway. Andrea has no interest at all in fashion, and takes the job as a stepping stone to serious journalism. However, Miranda soon proves to be the boss-from-hell. Taking on this job drains Andrea's soul as she loses contact with the outside world, casting aside her family, friends and boyfriend in order to meet Miranda's outrageous demands.

While I would hesitate to call the novel funny, it is a larger-than-life look at how people sell their souls to the workplace and their bosses. It is difficult to comprehend the tasks that Andrea is asked to complete, and if indeed the author's stint working for Anna Wintour was anything like this, I feel sorry for her! It is not a masterpiece of prose fiction; however it is an easy read and perfect escapism from what we all think to be a tough old life. I can see why it has been made into a film - think Bidget Jones with a touch more sarcasm trying to totter around in 6inch Jimmy Choos with a tray of Starbucks coffee in one hand and a takeout lunch in the other, and that is Andrea Sachs. I have awarded it 4 stars because it was a light hearted, easy read, perfect for a holiday.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2007
This book isn't the best book I've ever read by far, but I really don't understand all the 1 and 2 star ratings when it's a really entertaining read! It's not exceptionally moving or groundbreaking, but it's a gripping book that you'll enjoy from start to finish as you learn more about the characters. Somebody said Andrea was one dimensional - the book's plot doesn't allow for her to develop properly, that's true - but it doesn't stop her being a fun and likeable main character. I'd definitely recommend it especially for a holiday read. The film didn't live up to the book at all!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2011
Many reviews have criticised the endless descriptions of designer clothes, but for those who enjoy descriptions of beautiful designer clothes those may well be your favourite parts of the book. I found the passages describing Andy's job the most enjoyable parts of the book; the sense of getting an insider glimpse into the fashion industry makes them exciting, and the events described are full of glamour, luxury and extravagance. It is great escapism into the fashion world.
This is no literary masterpiece; Weisberger's writing is mediocre at best. Her fast-paced narrative and exciting subject matter (the fashion industry as well as a twenty-something's coming-of-age) make this an entertaining read. But the writing itself, the dialogue and the characterisation is either bad or just very average. So this is great for chick-lit and but don't expect anything more.
My biggest criticism of this book is the characterisation of Andy. She comes across as an incredibly rude, lazy, immature, arrogant smart-ass who is completely ungrateful for what is, after all, an amazing career opportunity. The majority of the book is just her whining about her boss and the fashion industry (all the usual hackneyed barbs like `they want people to be skinny' etc). Often I felt disgusted by her attitude towards work. Case in point: at the end of the book she sarcastically lists all the (in her opinion useless) skills she's learnt working for Runway e.g. "how to plead with, charm, persuade, cajole anyone to get exactly what I needed, when I needed it, how to complete just about any challenge in under an hour .... It had been nothing if not a learning-rich year." In fact, all of these are incredibly useful skills to have in the working world, but she just derides them. She may be smart (went to Brown) but I see very little evidence of it in the book.
And of course, since Andy is so unlikeable, it twists her descriptions of everyone and everything else, especially Miranda. I agree with the comment that the exploration of professionalism vs. integrity is very one-sided. Andy is constantly making it clear that her own values are so much better than all this stupid fashion stuff. There is very little exploration of why professionalism might be worthwhile, except maybe through Emily, who points out that Miranda is a fantastic editor and might have to give Andy horrible tasks because she herself is very busy. But since Emily is billed as an intellectually limited doormat no respect is given to her opinions.
I think the film got it better by showing some respect for the fashion industry and giving Miranda Priestly a human side. I think a director said that it would not have been right to make a movie where you're always supposed to be going to Andy, `get out, quit!' These tweaks made Andy much more likeable. But also they play to the book's strengths. People read books about a girl working in the fashion industry because they like fashion and glamour, so focusing respectfully on fashion makes the whole thing more entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2008
I agree with some of the opinions of other reviewers on this site. This semi-autobiographical roman a clef novel is undemanding, fairly light-hearted entertainment, but does not fulfil its full potential. I agree that the characterisation of Andrea Sachs, the protagonist, is one-dimensional, and that there are loose ends within the storyline which could have been explored further. I felt that Andrea came across as quite immature in some situations and felt disgusted at her attitude in certain scenarios; for example her debating over whether to spit in her manager's drink/ lick the ice cubes for her Pellegrino/ setting out her manager's take out lunch with her bare hands /serving her breakfast onto an unwashed plate...ugh!! I felt that the character of Alex, her dedicated teacher boyfriend, could have been developed further in order for him to act as a type of literary foil to the character of Andrea, i.e. he represents the grounded 'real world' whilst Andrea succumbs to the seductive glamour of the world of fashion and compromises her principles in the process. I agree also that the standard of proof reading throughout this book leaves a lot to be desired. I found it irritating when reading to encounter typos such as 'Bobby Brown' instead of 'Bobbi Brown', and'Alberto Ferretti' instead of 'Alberta Ferretti' for example, as it is a sign of a lack of attention to detail and general carelessness. To summarise, "The Devil wears Prada" is the kind of book to read if you don't want to stimulate your brain cells too much. I quite enjoyed it, but it feels as if there is something missing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2008
I have been interested in reading this for quite some time now, and have put off watching the movie just so I could read the book first.

Andrea is a twenty three year old woman who has just bagged a job that "so many girls would die for"...working as Miranda Priestley's assistant at one of the hottest fashion magazines in America - Runway. Andrea is not into fashion herself but she thinks that by getting her foot in the door to a world class magazine could be her way of getting up the ladder to write her own pieces. According to some, one year working for Miranda guarantees you a job in whatever field you want, so Andrea decides she'll work for Miranda for a year, then go and work as a write somewhere else.

However, not all goes to plan. This job is not easy. What with all the office politics, and not your typical office politics. The girls who work at Runway are model material, treating each day as a fashion show, where as Andrea will show up for work in a simple blouse and knee length skirt. She soon realises that working for Miranda is hard work and extremely demanding. She starts to find it hard to keep in touch with her best friend Lily, and her boyfriend Alex - niether of which can understand why she has top drop everything if Miranda so much as wants a Coffee from Starbucks.

How long will it be until Andrea flips and stops smiling through gritted teeth? Will she ever tell Miranda how she really feels?

This book actually had me really interested from the first page and I was hooked throughout. It may be slightly over the top, although I have no idea what it's like working for a top fashion magazine, but it still had me turning the pages day after day just wanting to know how this would end. Speaking of which, the ending was a little too happy sappy for me and kind of made me feel a little dissapointed considering I had enjoyed this book so much.

I would recommend this book though if you're looking to read about a bitchy workforce and the worlds biggest bitchiest boss ever! I felt a connection with Andrea and you can sometimes understand where she's coming from. I'm sure we've all had our "I hate my boss" moments!!

Pick this up if see it - it's worth reading
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I liked this book and found it fast and enjoyable to read. But at the end of the day it doesn't really add up to a lot. Andrea Sachs, an aspiring magazine writer, lands a job as personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high profile editor of "Runway" magazine. Andrea quickly finds that the job involves numerous mundane and tedious chores, long hours, incessant demands and enormous personal sacrifices. The fact that author Lauren Weisberger wrote this book after working as Personal Assistant to Anna Wintour from Vogue adds a lot of credibility to the environment and story.

One of the flaws with this book is that the job really does sound like it would be glamorous and (at least sometimes) fun. Although Miranda does come across as being the Boss From Hell, you still feel that Andrea is just a whinging and ungrateful employee, who performs her job with little grace. I'm a stay at home Mom, and all I can say is that if it's too much to deal with someone who refuses to eat the food you've bought for them, changes their mind irrationally and makes petulant demands of you, then Lauren Weisberger should never have children! At least Andrea got to dress in designer clothes, attend Parisian fashion shows and go home at the end of the day.

The other problem with this book is that you never really care about Andrea. In the end she has to make a decision between a job that she hates and a boyfriend and best friend whom I had come to dislike intensely. It wasn't a dilemma that invoked much sympathy from me.

I did enjoy reading this book, but I suspect that I'll have forgotten it by tomorrow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2003
I read the extract printed in the You sunday magazine a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. It seemed fast paced and exciting. On buying the book, the fast paced rush around the fashion industry continued, but that was about it. The story didn't progress and the male love interest, was nothing but a distraction, was of no relevance to anything in particular. He seemed to be written in to tick off another box in the chick lit criteria.
Overall, this book could be compared to a sunday afternoon walk, without the trees, flowers or sky. Just a bit plain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I picked up this book having watched the film. As always the book was very much different in content, no surprise there, but I loved it never the less. Fresh, witty, engaging; this was just what I was looking for.

Until this point in time I was not interested in the world of fashion whatsoever, but found myself so mesmerised by this world, found myself so totally wrapped up in the whole lifestyle, that I couldn't stop reading. I thought the attention to detail was absoluteley wonderful. The contrast between two such strong female characters was striking also. I thought the character of Miranda, the devil of the fashion world,was superb, and I found myself questioning my own values and priorities as I read! A book that makes you think is always a good thing in my humble opinion, whatever the genre it is written in. This is a book to read in the bath, whilst sipping a nice glass of champagne;it offers a world to escape into.Bliss!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2010
I saw the film first and I really enjoyed it so I decided to read the book, luckily I just borrowed a copy and didn't waste money buying my own. I found the book uncomfortable, boring and a chore to finish.

The book is just pages and pages and pages of Andrea whinging, whining and moaning, oh boo hoo I have to go get coffee from Starbucks,(and skip the queue), ride around in a limo and fetch Miranda's lunch! All the free designer things and money can't make up for that!!!

Alex is the perfect, too-good-to-be-true boyfriend while Lily is just plain irritating, with each new problem Lily got herself into I found myself just rolling my eyes and grinding my teeth.

Plus Lauren has an annoying obsession with the words unhappy and adorable, everytime I saw the word adorable on a page I wanted to slap something. I think I'll stick with Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell :)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2006
I work for a UK/US fashion magazine and can tell you i laughed the whole way thru this book. I loved it.

Fashion magazines exploit their young staff ruthlessly. In fact my only criticism is that it wasn't BAD enough, i though Miranda Priestly got off too lightly. I have sat with many fashion editors and magazine editors who think the earth gravitates around their desks. I have sat thru the sycophancy and idiocy of London Fashion Week and you really couldn't make it up. I have worn loaned clothes from the 'fashion cupboard' on girls night out and put them back with red wine spilled down the front. I have picked up that dry cleaning and coffee so many times. I know that Lauren wrote from experience and am glad that she saw it for what it was - a time to gather enough ridiculous anecdotes together to write her funny novel, sell the film rights and then get a proper life. It's brilliant. And accurate.
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