Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

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A (very) brief plot overview

Fresh out of college, wannabe journalist Andy lands a job at one of the world’s biggest fashion magazines, Runway, as the assistant to the formidable editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly. Whilst she is told it’s a job that ‘a million girls would die for’, it soon becomes clear that Miranda is one tricky boss and that Andy is in for a bumpy ride.

What’s good about it?

Since watching the film a few years ago, I have wanted to read this book so I am happy I have finally ticked it off of my list. Judging by the state of this copy I borrowed from the library, I was not the only one eager to read this book. I am happy to report that my excitement was justified and that the book did not disappoint.

Miranda Priestly is as cut throat and bitchy as I wanted her to be. Her demands are laughable, her putdowns are brutal and her character every inch the larger than life, impossible nightmare that I hoped she would be. Even if she is the villain, she is my favourite character. She is so well written that you find yourself curling your toes when she puts Andy down as if you are the one receiving a telling off. I feel like adopting her line ‘that’s all’ as my own savage put down to end arguments, but I don’t think I could pull it off quite like she does.

I really liked that external character’s in Andy’s life like Lily were explored because they really got across the level of control that Miranda had over Andy’s life and how all consumed she was by Runway. By writing that Andy is almost blind to Lily’s drinking problem, even when it is eventually pointed out by Andy’s boyfriend Alex, you really see how much Runway had taken over Andy’s life. Often books just focus on romantic relationships suffering due to work pressures and stresses, but I liked that The Devil Wears Prada shows how difficulties at work can take over a person’s entire life and all of their relationships.

For me, New York is a place I love, fashion magazines are something I have always read and fashion is a world I have always been curious about, so to read this felt like an exciting insight into another world that I have always been curious about. Even though I knew the storyline from the film, the book was as fun and as bitchy as I wanted it to be. It made me want to head to New York and beg to become a journalist… just maybe not one at Runway!

What’s not so good?

It’s hard to review this book without comparing it to the film which, in my opinion, is better than the book. First of all, the book has Meryl Streep in it… need I say more? Plus, even though Miranda is impossible and demanding in the film, you also see – even if only very, very briefly – a human side of her. The book’s Miranda Priestly stays monstrous throughout which is fun to read, but Meryl Streep’s Miranda was a little more realistic.

Whilst on the theme of characters, Anne Hathaway’s Andy is a lot more likeable than novel Andy. Novel Andy seems to know more about fashion and be less innocent and bewildered. Sometimes her actions and comments come across as bitchy as Miranda’s. Anna Hathaway’s Andy you pitied, Novel Andy you kind of feel needs putting in her place every now and then.

Rate Me: 7/10. A rarity for me, but I prefer the film to the book. That being said, it was still a good read and I am really glad I ticked it off of my reading list!

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