The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

“So this was what four years of diagraming and deconstructing books, plays, short stories and poems were for: a chance to comfort a small, white, bat-like bulldog while trying not to demolish someone else’s really, really expensive car. Sweet life. Just as I had always dreamed.”

The Devil Wears Prada is easy to read and easy to enjoy. But I know it’s not everyone’s cup of peppermint tea, it may be like drinking thick clotted out-of-date cream for others. The word “chick lit” alone is literary suicide, but this is not a post about the merits of chick lit. And of course some people just don’t want to read a book about the world of fashion. Fair ’nuff. I’m not a girly-girl myself but there is something alluring about the world of magazines and the beautiful people within them.

Western culture has fed us on this diet of celebrity so it is very easy to relate to the Andrea who is just out of college starts working for Runway (Vogue) as an assistant for the crazy-devil of a boss Miranda Priestly. She’s insane but such an awesome character.

There are so many things I shouldn’t like about this book. Yes, I could focus on the big no-no’s and annoyances in Weisberger’s writing i.e using flashbacks for no reason, confusing tense, the protagonist Andrea’s parents sounding identical in dialogue and despite Andrea not knowing a thing about fashion can name fashion labels at the drop of a hat. But I just don’t care enough about these stylistic elements to let them put me off a book which made me laugh.

Andrea is a well-developed protagonist, her voice is very clear and unique among a stereotypical fashion industry. She’s an outsider who gets in and like a spy snoops around never really losing her identity or ambition. So good on you Weisberger, a book loved by many but completely annihilated by the critics and people from Vogue.

I read this book because I am currently writing a novel-extract. Yep, those words make me cringe. The piece I am working on came about as a joke, a friend of mine gave me a rock star name and I just went from there. Although it was a joke I really liked writing this piece, which focused more on plot than beautiful sentences and characterisation through dialogue.

I know now that my novel-extract is starting to nestle in the chick-lit box, which at first freaked me out because it meant Peter Craven would never write firm supportive words of “great Australian fiction.” But only for a second or three, I really do not care enough about Peter Craven. So I am reading a variety of popular and literary works to explore writing style and narrative formula.

I want to find a balance without worrying too much. Interestingly, Weisberger sold her second book to the publishers for $1 000 000. It was an absolute flop. Too many flash-backs maybe?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

  1. I wonder which ended up being more important to her – the $1mill, or the fact that it was a flop? Genuine question.
    It must be hard to come down from a success like ‘The Devil wears Prada.’
    The extract sounds interesting. Will you post it, do you think?

  2. GailWrites

    If you liked this book, you may love Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg. It parallels “The Devil Wears Prada” to such an extent that I thought it may have been the inspiration. However, in reading further, there was actually a reference to “The Devil…” in the book. Rather than the fashion industry, the backdrop is book publishing but one can certainly identify the commonalities between Miranda and Lucy, as well as Andy and Angel.

    • freedomtights

      I’ll have a look out for that one, thanks for the suggestion! There are alot of books about book publishing which i think isn’t entirely original of the writer. I think the next chick lit book I will be reading is by Sophie Kinsella as I’ve never read her before.

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