It's a killer title: The Devil Wears Prada
. And it's killer material: author Lauren Weisberger did a stint as assistant to Anna Wintour, the all-powerful editor of Vogue
magazine. Now she's written a book, and this is its theme: narrator Andrea Sachs goes to work for Miranda Priestly, the all-powerful editor of Runway
magazine. Turns out Miranda is quite the bossyboots. That's pretty much the extent of the novel, but it's plenty. Miranda's behavior is so insanely over-the-top that it's a gas to see what she'll do next, and to try to guess which incidents were culled from the real-life antics of the woman who's been called Anna "Nuclear" Wintour. For instance, when Miranda goes to Paris for the collections, Andrea receives a call back at the New York office (where, incidentally, she's not allowed to leave her desk to eat or go to the bathroom, lest her boss should call). Miranda bellows over the line: "I am standing in the pouring rain on the rue de Rivoli
and my driver has vanished. Vanished! Find him immediately!"
This kind of thing is delicious fun to read about, though not as well written as its obvious antecedent, The Nanny Diaries. And therein lies the essential problem of the book. Andrea's goal in life is to work for The New Yorker--she's only sticking it out with Miranda for a job recommendation. But author Weisberger is such an inept, ungrammatical writer, you're positively rooting for her fictional alter ego not to get anywhere near The New Yorker. Still, Weisberger has certainly one-upped Me Times Three author Alex Witchel, whose magazine-world novel never gave us the inside dope that was the book's whole raison d' etre. For the most part, The Devil Wears Prada focuses on the outrageous Miranda Priestly, and she's an irresistible spectacle. --Claire Dederer
From Publishers Weekly
Most recent college grads know they have to start at the bottom and work their way up. But not many picture themselves having to pick up their boss's dry cleaning, deliver them hot lattes, land them copies of the newest Harry Potter book before it hits stores and screen potential nannies for their children. Charmingly unfashionable Andrea Sachs, upon graduating from Brown, finds herself in this precarious position: she's an assistant to the most revered-and hated-woman in fashion, Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly. The self-described "biggest fashion loser to ever hit the scene," Andy takes the job hoping to land at the New Yorker after a year. As the "lowest-paid-but-most-highly-perked assistant in the free world," she soon learns her Nine West loafers won't cut it-everyone wears Jimmy Choos or Manolos-and that the four years she spent memorizing poems and examining prose will not help her in her new role of "finding, fetching, or faxing" whatever the diabolical Miranda wants, immediately. Life is pretty grim for Andy, but Weisberger, whose stint as Anna Wintour's assistant at Vogue couldn't possibly have anything to do with the novel's inspiration, infuses the narrative with plenty of dead-on assessments of fashion's frivolity and realistic, funny portrayals of life as a peon. Andy's mishaps will undoubtedly elicit laughter from readers, and the story's even got a virtuous little moral at its heart. Weisberger has penned a comic novel that manages to rise to the upper echelons of the chick-lit genre.
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