Book: The Devil Wears Prada

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Published: May 30th 2006

How many times have we walked out of cinema halls and trashed a movie because it desecrated our beloved book? Sounds familiar? How many times have we read a deficient book and thought how could one make an absolutely amazing movie on it? Sounds familiar? Not really, I’d guess.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is a perfectly good example of how to write an excruciating book about a modestly-ambitious girl working for an extravagant fashion magazine with a “devil” for a boss. On the other hand, the movie based on the book is a superb example of how script-writing and good direction can pull a mediocre story out of the dumps and raise its bar so high that it produces a movie worth loving.

I saw the movie and really enjoyed it. I can safely say the same for most of my male friends who watched the movie. (Anne Hathaway being the primary reason, but there was a saving grace.) So, I decided to read the book that I (presumed) inspired the movie. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the movie glorified the book. The writing of the book is mediocre, character sketching is sketchy and the progression is tiresome. It is speculated that the book is an account of Weisberger’s experience while working for Vogue. I am not sure how true this claim is but if it is true, then I must say that Weisberger needs lessons on venting. For someone who is expressing her rather tough journey, the book is an impassioned piece of literature. However, one must give her the benefit of doubt that it wasn’t her personal account, and even then she fails at attempting a good narration! The Devil Wears Prada is a tiring book. The only reason why one would read it would be because they are staunch believers in reading a book before watching the movie. The movie is a balsamaceous agent on the wounds caused by reading the book. So, I’d say save yourself and watch the movie instead.

Since this is a review, I’ll do a very quick recap of what the book is about. Although, if you have seen the movie, the review of the book ended in the previous paragraph for you. The book charts the story of a girl called Andrea who has graduated from Brown University and lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly—the hugely famous and successful editor of Runway magazine. While she convinces herself that this is a job that “a million girls would die for” she soon realises that she signed up to be assistant to a greatly unreasonable woman and that, frankly, only a pot-valiant person would do her job. While Andrea struggles with her job and tries to snatch herself some self-respect, she loses out on her boyfriend who refuses to remain waiting for her to have the time. She also fails to notice that her best-friend, who stays with her, is going through a tough patch and has turned alcoholic. There is a desperate attempt of building how tortured Andrea is in some frugal scenes, but that’s that. Finally, after being much abused and harassed Andrea quits her job while on a trip to Paris with her boss. The book ends on a bitter note with the inconspicuous fluttering of the flag of self-respect.

In short, do not read the book. It’s a waste of your time. However, one must watch the movie for the splendid performances of Anne Hathaway as Andrea and Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly. (The movie ends on a  note of mutual respect between the two ladies.)

All in all, The Devil Wears Prada is a piece of literature which got more attention than it deserved, just like that high-school kid who was famous for no good reason.

– Sameen

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