|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Chick Lit
Start Date: Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date: Sometime in 2007-8 (boy, do I have a good memory or what? :D)
Where Purchased: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: Loved the movie & wanted to see how it compared.
Summary: A bright young journalist fresh out of college and without work earns a highly competitive internship as assistant to Miranda Priestley, head editor of the fashion magazine bible Runway, who soon becomes overwhelmed by exhaustive demands, undersized haute couture, and survival tactics that turn into a kind of Stockholm syndrome.
I have never felt more sorry for someone that made a choice to stick out the job from hell in order to say that she survived it. Instead of screaming at Andrea to just quit, I want her to get the best of Miranda and she does one better—she makes just enough of an impression to leave Miranda speechless and is able to come away with enough confidence to make a transition into the field of her dreams (yes, I realize my last choice of words turns out to be a movie).
Thinly veiled as representative of her experience at Vogue as assistant to editor Anna Wintour, Weisberger is critical of the fashion scene and its vapid, self-centred wasteland, yet after working there a few months, becomes taken with its glamour, enough to take advantage of an opportunity that she didn’t remotely consider months earlier. Characters at the magazine are either on edge or just as icy as Miranda. The head assistant Emily is completely devoted to her job and ridiculing the “unfashionable” Andrea, but things change when Emily is detained from attending fashion week in Paris, and soon has been demoted a rung on the assistant ladder, becoming what Andrea was and Andrea turning into Miranda's "new Emily."
The movie version improves on the novel—no one but Meryl Streep could play the ice queen and she nailed it! Unnecessary subplots are edited out, such as best friend Lily’s personal problems that Andrea is forced to put on the back burner, which is not at all consistent with Andrea’s character, at least not to the point that she would be that insensitive. Descriptions of fashion ensembles provide the best language of the novel. The rest of Weisberger’s prose is just okay, sometimes bordering on tacky, and judging by the reception of her next major follow-ups Chasing Harry Winston and Last Night at Charteau Marmont, hasn’t quite earned respectability as a writer. I wonder if she would make a better screenwriter as Devil Wears Prada translates very well to film and CHW has been picked up for filming rights.
Rank: (B)- Very Good, Recommend