Synopses & Reviews
A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.
Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job "a million girls would die for." Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.
The Devil Wears Prada gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about "The Boss from Hell." Narrated in Andrea's smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda's children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.
"[A] one-note but on-the-money kiss-and-tell debut....Weisberger writes with humor and authority, but her plot circles like a whirlpool and by the time Andrea's ready to face some hard choices, it's difficult to care. Her exhaustion is contagious." Kirkus Reviews
"Weisberger's characters are all uniformly shallow and two-dimensional, and she seems to be worshiping this lifestyle at the same time that she is supposedly skewering it. However...Weisberger's dishy style will appeal to many readers." Kathleen Hughes, Booklist
"Weisberger lacks the self-deprecating humor and warmth [of The Nanny Diaries]. And her book's sour, sarcastic, self-involved heroine is too much of a pill to be endearing....For a mean-spirited 'Gotcha!' of a book, one that offers little indication that the author could interestingly sustain a gossip-free narrative, The Devil Wears Prada is most unseemly when it comes to literature." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"A deliciously witty and gossipy first novel." Publishers Weekly
"[T]he novel is somewhat trite and predictable, as well as saccharine and maudlin when it comes to the scenes about Andrea's personal life (not to mention repetitive in places and longer than it should be and sloppily edited). But wow, will it make a great movie!" Jennifer Krauss, Newsday
"[A] funny, biting, low-cal treat." Rush & Molloy, The New York Daily News
"Weisberger manages to get off some funny lines and deft observations of the lookist culture, but you have the feeling they came from her co-workers at Vogue magazine....Andrea's aura of self-importance is almost enough to make you sympathize with the Prada-wearing devil herself..." Kate Betts, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Lauren Weisberger graduated from Cornell University in 1999. She lives in New York City.
The tortures Miranda puts Andrea through are bound to become urban legends did you set out to write the ultimate "boss from hell" story with
The Devil Wears Prada?
While I didn't necessarily begin writing with the intent of creating a "boss from hell" story, it's obviously a large component of the book. A lot of the anecdotes and demands and craziness are products of my imagination, stories I created at four in the morning while chugging coffee and fighting sleep deprivation. But there's reality there, too. Some of the stories aren't so far away from the tasks either I or my friends in various industries whether fashion or magazines or PR or advertising went through our first few years out of college. I imagine that assistants everywhere will recognize some of their own experiences in Andrea's life.
I know Andrea is a fictional character, but do you have any qualities in common with her? For example, do you eschew high fashion and opt for Banana Republic like Andrea at the beginning of the novel?
I see a lot of myself in Andrea, from her love of writing to her tendency to get so wrapped up in things that she somehow finds it difficult to see the big picture. It was only natural for me to have her grow up in a small town, study English at university, and move to New York after graduation, because that's clearly a familiar path for me. But I think she's a hell of a lot stronger than I could ever be. Every time I reread the book, I'm struck by the tenacity with which she keeps showing up at work every day and how she manages, somehow, to get through a really lousy situation. And while, like Andrea, I care very little about high fashion, I of course wouldn't turn down an afternoon of shopping with my friends. I definitely like clothes as much as the next girl, just not to the extent of people who work in the fashion industry.
So many women all over the world have relationships with fashion magazines, it is no wonder that The Devil Wears Prada has generated so much buzz. Have you been surprised by all of the excitement surrounding the book?
When the excitement really picked up the past couple months and there were all sorts of mentions in magazines and newspapers, I was blown away. It still seems totally surreal, and seeing the name of the book in print somewhere official is so shocking that it barely registers. It's completely overwhelming, but in a great way.
How would you most like readers to respond to the novel?
I like to think the book isn't totally about Miranda or how awful she is, and that Andrea's voice really comes through. Hopefully readers everywhere can relate to the other things in Andrea's life. The repercussions of her job on her personal life, the problems that arise with her best friend and boyfriend and family, and the way it feels to live in the big city for the first time, are common experiences for so many young women. At the end of the day, I'd be thrilled to hear that readers related to Andrea and this year in her life, and that they had a few laughs while they read. This is clearly not War & Peace, so I'd love to hear that people just enjoyed themselves while reading the book. That would be perfect.
Who is your favorite designer?
The closest I get to any sort of "designer" items would probably be my weakness for jeans they don't have to be any particular brand, but I'm willing to do almost anything, go anywhere, spend obscene amounts of money for that elusive "perfect pair." But I only ever really wear casual stuff with them white tank tops or button-downs, the kinds of things that I suppose one could buy at Prada but I never do since they're indistinguishable (to my uneducated eye) from the stuff you can get at Banana.
You are a world traveler, and recently returned from Southeast Asia. How was your trip? Do you have any other travel plans scheduled?
The trip was absolutely amazing. Vietnam and Cambodia are such special places, unlike anywhere else I'd seen before in Asia. The people are primarily Buddhist and as a result, were peaceful and welcoming and incredibly hospitable. And as always when you're traveling, it was great to meet other travelers from around the world and hear their perspectives on all sorts of different subjects. Although the plans aren't yet definite, I'm hoping to get to Scandinavia and Russia at some point in the next few months, and after that, sub-Saharan Africa is first on my list. If I could figure out a way to earn a living while traveling for the rest of my life, well, I think that'd be a dream come true.
What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
Recently I've been focusing a lot of my time on promoting The Devil Wears Prada! There are all sorts of interviews to do and readings that are planned, and I'm just preparing myself for everything that's coming up in the next couple months. I've been doing some freelance writing for magazines and am also working on a short story that will be included in an anthology that's set to be published in 2004. And of course, I spend obscene amounts of time thinking about the book I hope to write next.