Lauren Weisberger, whose bestselling debut The Devil Wears Prada
outed the vicious antics of the magazine industry elite, is back at it with Everyone Worth Knowing
, another cautionary tale of sex, power, and fame. This time around, the PR industry is her target, and Prada
fans will recognize similar themes throughout this entertaining, if at times overly dramatic, exposé.
Bette Robinson is a twentysomething Emory graduate who shunned her parents' hippie ideals in favor of a high-paying yet excruciatingly boring job at a prestigious investment bank. One day, after a particularly condescending exchange with her boss (who sends her daily inspirational e-mails), Bette walks out on her job in a huff. After a few weeks of sleeping late, watching Dr. Phil and entertaining her dog Millington, Bette's uncle scores her a job at an up-and-coming public relations firm, where her entire job seems to revolve around staying out late partying and providing fodder for clandestine gossip columns. What follows is one episode after another of Bette climbing up the social ladder at the expense of her friends, family, and the one guy who actually seems worth pursuing.
Weisberger is clever enough to turn seemingly outrageous circumstances into amusing anecdotes, like the tale of a woman who was close to suicide until she found out she was only 18 months away from scoring a highly coveted Birkin bag ("You simply cannot kill yourself when you're that close ... it's just not an option."). This wit, combined a hint of voyeurism that most of us can't deny, is what makes Everyone Worth Knowing a guilty pleasure that's well worth the indulgence. --Gisele Toueg
The Significant Seven with Lauren Weisberger
Lauren graciously agreed to answer the questions we like to ask every author.
Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Very tough question. For the first half of my life, it would definitely have to be Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I worshipped that book. Recently, I'd say that it was Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Even though there's not a tremendous amount of action, the characters are brilliant. It's a hauntingly realistic depiction of small-town America. And the place descriptions are so compelling that the book is compulsively page-turning.
Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: This is not the time for self-improvement, that's for sure--they'd all have to be 100% entertainment. For book it would have to be The Last of the California Girls, a random novel that I've read 2,000 times; for CD I would say Monster Ballads, the album of cheesy 80's love songs that I ordered from an 800-number, and for DVD, it would be Dirty Dancing, of course.
Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: That one's easy. It goes something like this: "Hi, (insert editor's name here)! Yes, of course, it's already finished. I'm just tweaking a few sentences, and I'll have the whole draft to you by Monday, latest."
Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: For me, the best writing environments are all about deprivation and the removal of temptation. Therefore, anywhere on earth where there's no TV, no phone, no internet access, no friends, and no fridge is pretty much perfect.
Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: I really don't want to think about this one, but if I HAVE to, I hope it would include a few keywords like "brilliant," "supremely talented," and "drop-dead gorgeous."
Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: I'm supposed to say Hemingway or Moses or Madonna, right? It'd probably just be my sister, Dana. We already have a lot of dinners together, so I know it's a guaranteed good laugh.
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: The ability to be invisible! It would make all my current spying/stalking/staring SO much easier.
From Publishers Weekly
A 27-year-old New York banker quits her job and finds work at a posh PR agency, trading her navy pantsuits for low-slung jeans and skimpy tops so she can hang out with the beautiful people at "in" places like Bungalow 8 (though first she has to find out what Bungalow 8 is
). Weisberger's bestselling The Devil Wears Prada
hinged on a similar fish-out-of-water scenario, and while it may have worked then, this time around it feels like a rehash. Bette Robinson begins as a likable enough character, but it isn't long before Weisberger's caricature of her becomes frustrating: Bette is surprisingly successful at her new job, even as she's constantly complaining about "the ridiculousness of what we were doing"—i.e., orchestrating Manhattan social events in such a way that the agency's clients look good in gossip columns. Bette's personal life gets equally ridiculous treatment, as she enters into a "just for looks" and very public relationship with a British heartthrob who's really gay, as her friends and family (and the guy she really likes) look on in horror. The book occasionally entertains—as when it makes jabs at the very critics who panned DWP
—but not nearly often enough.
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