by Lauren Weisberger
This review is a bit unusual; I read this book back when it first came around, probably in 2004 or 2005. When an audio version of the book happened to come my way, I thought it might be fun to revisit the book and see if I enjoy it as much the second time around.
Andrea Sachs moves to New York City, hoping to land her dream job of working for The New Yorker. Things don’t go quite to plan, but eventually Andrea manages to land a job in publishing as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Runway. Although Andrea isn’t interested in fashion, and doesn’t know Versace from Valentino, she’s assured that after one year with Miranda she’ll be able to land a position at any magazine she wants. Miranda, however, is a terror to work for. Unpredictable, impatient, and absolutely lacking any respect for her subordinates, Miranda runs Andrea ragged. If her coffee isn’t precisely the right temperature, Miranda screams. If Andrea is unable to locate a contact based on vague descriptions along the lines of “the man we always use”, it’s her own fault. As her relationships collapse, Andrea struggles to keep her eye on the prize.
This is a fun book. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I enjoyed it, but now I think it now: Andrea gets what she deserves. She annoyed me from the beginning; she’s ungrateful for her incredible job opportunity, and spends enough of the book scorning the people she works with that it became enjoyable when Miranda Priestly took a big dump on her. I mean, Andrea doesn’t care about fashion and is only using the job to get ahead. Fair enough. But maybe Miranda senses this and dumps on Andrea all the more because of it? Or maybe she’s just a cruel, terrible boss. Hard to say. But I’m the first to admit that if I knew someone was working with me not because they cared about our product, but only because they wanted to use my connections to skip an extra few years of grunt work, I doubt I’d shower them with favors.
Having said that, Miranda Priestly is a great villain. She’d be right at home in the Disney pantheon with Ursula, Maleficent, and the Evil Queen. Why? She’s figured out what she wants out of life and she wants it done, no excuses. She gives absolutely no f*cks about her employees’ personal lives or mental states. This makes her demanding, rude, and a terror to work for. As the reader, you love to hate her, but you also admire just how completely narcissistic and cruel the woman can be. What extreme action will she take next? You don’t know and Andrea doesn’t dare to guess, but you can’t wait to find out.
Is this great literature? Hell no. I probably wouldn’t even classify it as ‘good’. But it’s funny, and it’s mindless, and it’s entertaining. It made me laugh ten years ago and it still made me smile today.
3 out of 5 stars
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Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: The Rape of the Nile by Brian Fagan
2012: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
2011: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
2010: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
2009: The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery
2008: News & Discussion Question: Rare Books For Sale