The Devil Wears Prada
By Lauren Weisberger
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Broadway (April 13, 2004)
At 448 pages, The Devil Wears Prada is an enormous novel. A work of fiction, and, perhaps, chick-lit, it is a story about a young woman, Andrea Sachs (‘Andy’) who has recently graduated from college and stumbles into the hectic world of high fashion and publishing at ‘Runway’, a prestigious fashion journal. Her job is to be the second assistant editor to Miranda Priestly. Miranda turns out to be a diva and is hell to work with and for.
Inside the book, it is stated that the author graduated from Cornell University. This is her first novel and was on The New York Times bestseller list for six months. It has been published in twenty-seven countries. Weisberger lives in New York City. Apparently, from the Amazon.com website, Lauren Weisberger did a stint as assistant to Anna Wintour, the all-powerful editor of Vogue magazine. Despite the feeling that the process of writing this book was meant to be some form of catharsis for the author, it is also interesting, as stated on the Amazon.com site, to imagine what really did happen and what didn’t.
The title, The Devil Wears Prada, is no doubt a title that would captivate anyone’s interest. The attraction for this book was, mainly, because it had become a major motion picture which commanded actresses of such quality as Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
From a technical standpoint, there is a repetition of sorts in this novel. For example:
“Alex, it’s not that I forgot to call,” I lied openly, trying to extricate myself from his nonaccusatory accusation. “I simply didn’t have a single second free, and since it sounded like something serious, I didn’t want to call just to have to hang up again. I mean, she must have called me two dozen times juts this afternoon, and each one is an absolute emergency. Emily took off at five and left me all alone with the phone, and Miranda just didn’t stop. She kept calling and calling and calling, and every time I went to call you, it’d be her again on the other line. I, uh, you know?”
My rapid-fire list of excuses sounded pathetic even to me, but I couldn’t stop. He knew I had just forgotten, and so did I. No be cause I didn’t care or wasn’t’ concerned, but because all things non-Miranda somehow ceased to be relevant the moment I arrived at work. In some ways I still didn’t understand and certainly couldn’t explain – never mind ask anyone else to understand – how the outside world just melted into nonexistence, that the only thing remaining when everything else vanished was Runway. It was especially difficult to explain this phenomenon when it was the single thing in my life I despised. And yet, it was the only one that mattered.
It does not seem necessary for Andrea to explain herself when the dialogue has done it for her. In ‘telling’ the reader what has happened, it has detracted from what was, essentially, very good dialogue. Such instances are repeated throughout the text; it does not make for smooth reading.
The success of this book is the fact that it is so well plotted that the fast pace ensures that there is never a dull moment. In addition, anyone who has had to ‘suffer’ in a job where the boss is terrible will identify with Andrea and her troubles. The author has also succeeded in building up such tension in Andrea’s life that when one reaches the climax of the tale, one is quite likely to say, “About time!”
The Devil Wears Prada is not the kind of book you would read a passage from, admire the turn of phrase, think about the emotions evoked and continue to read further. It’s a quick read and, for a fast reader, can be a good way to pass an afternoon on the beach.
Reviewed by Sonia Gould
27 May 2009