The Devil Wears Prada Review - Breaking your back for your job
by Lauren Weisberger
Published in 2003
The Devil Wears Prada is my mother and mine’s favorite movie. Anytime I go to her house and we need a movie to watch, it’s just one of those classics we have to watch. We love Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt so the movie is just perfection for us. It is disappointing that for years I didn’t know it was a book, which really now behind every great movie is usually a great book so I should have known. Reading The Devil Wears Prada was just as fun and exciting as the movie was, I only wish I had found it sooner!
Andrea Sachs is a young recent graduate of Brown University who aspires to one day write for The New Yorker… but like all young grads, hasn’t gained the experience she needs to qualify. She lands a job as Miranda Priestly’s assistant, the Editor-in-Chief of Runway magazine, “the job a million girls will die for”. Clueless to fashion, Andy is thrown into this mysterious world knowing that one year working for Miranda Priestly could open doors for her down the line. How hard could one year be? Andy quickly learns how hard one year can be when she sees how overly demanding Miranda Priestly is. Barely even remembering the name of her assistants, she constantly sends Emily and Andy on these impossible missions to complete whatever it is that she needs before she even asks them.
Later at a party, Andy meets Christian, a new up and coming writer, who she becomes attracted to even with her boyfriend Alex still in the picture. As the job becomes more and more demanding, it begins impacting her personal life both with her friends and her boyfriend, with them feeling like she is constantly prioritizing her job over them. Due to her putting her job above them, Miranda Priestly takes notice and decides to let Andy come with her to fashion week in Paris instead of Emily, who has been working for her longer and was waiting years for this opportunity.
In Paris, Miranda lets her guard down and asks Andy what she intends to do with her future. After listening, she says she can make some calls to people she knows at The New Yorker after she completes her one year. She gets a call that her best friend Lily was in a car accident at home and that she needs to return, but she decides she needs to stay with Miranda in Paris. It isn’t until after Miranda once again begins her overly demanding tasks that Andy realizes that it isn’t worth it anymore to keep putting this job above her family or she will end up alone just like Miranda. She tells Miranda “Fuck you” and gets fired and finally returns home. Though her relationship with Alex can’t be saved, they remain as friends as she begins repairing the broken relationships from home. She starts working on writing short stories, which one gets purchased by Seventeen magazine.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 8/10
Miranda Priestly really was the boss from hell! I have had some crappy bosses but none of them have been as demanding as Miranda Priestly. I have to start by comparing the book to the movie because this is one of those times when I might say the movie is better than the book, but only by a small margin. The book really was fun to read and Andy was a great character to get to know and even though I wanted to hate Miranda Priestly, I couldn’t help but think she was such a boss ass bitch. However, I loved the life that was breathed into the book through the movie. This is a fashion magazine and in the movie we get to see all the various looks and styles and colors and it really makes the fashion world all the more alluring and terrifying. I also think Anne Hathaway did a terrific job playing Andy and having that meek character who is just trying to survive each day as the assistant. But of course, Meryl Streep really does steal the show as she gives us a completely new perspective on Miranda Priestly that we don’t get to see in the book. In the book, Miranda is this cruel, thin, glamorous but demanding woman who has no regard for others as she has made this career her life. There are moments she’s sympathetic, but they are rare and few. In the movie though Meryl turns this character into a much more complex person where we see that she’s gotten to where she is by letting the rest of her life fall to shambles. I really wish this side of her could have been incorporated more into the books because it gives the character a side that can easily be compared to the sabotage that Andy was doing with her own life.
Even without that added, I still think the book was just such a fun and funny read. Andy was sent on the most ridiculous tasks at times only for Miranda to usually decide a minute too late that she doesn’t want or need that and Andy instead needs to do something else. I also couldn’t stop laughing when at first Miranda just kept calling her “Emily” because she just didn’t want to learn her name. Sometimes, I barely respond to people calling me my own name so I don’t know how Andy trained herself to respond whenever she heard the name “Emily”.
This is meant to be a funny, light-hearted read but I honestly really enjoyed the message behind the book too. At what cost would you be willing to pay for success? And is a job worth killing yourself over? I kept laughing at all the hoops that Andy had to jump through but I couldn’t actually imagine doing them myself and putting up with the crap that she did. But I think this can read as a cautionary tale that you shouldn’t stay in a job that makes you feel like crap and impacts your personal life because at the end of the day, a job is just a job. That’s not to mean we should all say “Fuck you” to our bosses and quit, but taking a look at yourself and seeing if you really are happy where you are because there are plenty of jobs out there. I was so glad to see the ending of the book with Andy to show that even though she now out of the job, that it clearly wasn’t the end of the world and she was still managing to get career opportunities in what she wanted to do. So if Andy can survive, so can we!