I read books of all kind, but this year I was inspired to pick up the "No Dudes Allowed" reading challenge from Lilit Marcus. I have a very long list of books that I want to read by all sorts of people, but I think this challenge with be fun and I hope to share my experience.
It took me a while to finish this because it's so forgettable and I've been busy preparing for my impending doom, otherwise known as finals week.
This is one of the few cases where the film was actually better than the book itself. There were a few things I like about the book better than the movie, but overall I'd much rather read the screenplay. Not only does the book lack diversity in body shapes (in the book Andrea is thinner than how Anne Hathaway portrayed her), it also lacks dimension in the characters (Andy especially even though she's the main character) and plot. There wasn't a really conflict. Since Andy is a narrator she wants you to be on her side and cry "poor Andy". But honestly, besides maybe losing her friends Andy didn't seem to face any other obstacles. And it's not just the narrative or Andy who never changed in terms of intensity, because nobody changed at all throughout the course of the novel. Especially Lily who I guess I'm suppose to feel sorry for because of her controllable alcoholism. No. Of all the 2D characters that I wanted to laugh at, Lily is right behind Andy. Out of jealousy of her bestie since the eighth grade who trying to build a successful career for herself, Lily goes out sleeping with whatever guy she can snatch up, showing that she obviously has more problems than alcoholism.
Maybe I'm biased because I like Anne Hathaway, but book-Andy is much more whiny and an overall unlikable person. She bitches, she moans, and she essentially steals from the company. Not to mention the narration is so ineloquent. She apparently graduated from Brown and wanted to write for the New Yorker. She expressions and vocabulary felt very limited to me. Then again, this is suppose to be a gossipy, chick-lit novel, and she was young and working in the "hippest" place ever.
It's the "something for nothing" mentality that really drags the book down - she seems to think that she can do a year as an admin and it's worth 3 years anywhere else - but somehow, that isn't going to involve work. So that's passable.
Now, this would be a one-star* review except for a overlooked clever bit of writing in the entire novel. It struck me after I finished the book that Miranda Priestly is never wore Prada. At least, not as far as I recall. Andy, however, admits that she feels good about herself when she leaves her apartment decked out in Prada from head to heel. Thus implying, of course, that the "Devil" in this book is Andy and not Miranda Priestly. Of course one may not realize this unless they were truly bored out of their mind and/or were good at noticing details. Even so, Weisberger tries so hard to never make Andy come across as a true devil; just a young woman trying desperately to do what it takes to establish a good career in the publishing world. Either way, I had no sympathy for the lead character in this novel...If she was truly a strong heroine who could think, she could keep her job without selling her soul and becoming her boss.
As for Miranda Priestly, I get that she's suppose to be fabulous, but do fashion magazine editors really have all that Miranda has? A private jet that she can use to fly off to Paris whenever she wants to act like a bitch. Other aspects of the book were also hard to swallow but I was able to suppress my urge to roll my eyes because I didn't want to get dizzy. I find it exceptionally difficult to believe that a woman who's turned a fashion magazine into the kind of success could demand that two copies of the new Harry Potter book be jetted to her hotel room in Paris the day before the book is released. Also, I wondered why DID she care about what label her assistants and employees were wearing even IF she is absolutely obsessed with fashion. It's obvious that they have to look nice because they work for a fashion rag and are around the heart of NYC, but shouldn't Miranda be more concerned with efficiency and performance from her employees than the label on their clothing? And the idea that said fashion editor keeps a staff and a huge closet full of spare high-end clothing specifically to make sure her staff looks right just didn't fly with me. Again, maybe I just to suspend my disbelief (which wasn't hard to do because I was desperate for something to do without actually thinking) to get through what the milieu Lauren Weisberger has conjured up out of her fashion-addled imagination.
The only truly good thing this book gave me was a laugh and mind-numbing breaks from intense study session. For some reason the plight of the lifeless characters and the never-ending pop-culture references helped me relax. Strange, I know. It was fast, fluffy, and frivolous.
But if you feel you must muddle through this, rent the movie. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are worth it (oh and Emily Blunt too).
*I gave her a pity point.