Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Review: Revenge Wears Prada

Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a high end bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing—not her husband, nor her beloved career—is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago—and directly into the path of the devil herself... (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Melissa Amster:

It’s been 17 years since I last set foot inside a certain well-known breakfast establishment. That’s because I was a waitress—sorry, server—there during a summer off from college. It was such a hellish experience, that I don’t wish for another cent of my money to be spent on that franchise at all whatsoever. And that was only a three-month summer job. So I can understand why Andrea (Andy) Sachs would not want to have anything to do with Miranda Priestly after a torturous YEAR of being her assistant. Unfortunately for her, she chose a career that put her right back in Miranda’s radar 10 years later in Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, Lauren Weisberger’s sequel to the ever-so-popular novel, The Devil Wears Prada.

I will admit that I was afraid to read Revenge Wears Prada because of all the slack it was getting through various reviews, whether they were at well-known publications or through personal friends. Then I saw some good reviews that were like sunlight peeking through the clouds. I kept thinking, “no two readers are alike” and decided to dive right in. You know what? I don’t get why it was receiving such slack. It was an entertaining and ultimately satisfying read. Sure, it was decadent and involved lots of name dropping and money being thrown around like it was no big deal. However, Andy stayed strong in her determination to not get sucked in to the glamorous life, even when she had a few tastes of what it was like. There were times when I would get frustrated with her because she was so set in her ways and only thinking of her grudge against Miranda. Then there were reminders of why Miranda was so awful and I suddenly was “Team Andy” all the way.

Lauren Weisberger’s use of description made me feel like I was right in every scene with Andy. I could feel the blustery autumn weather in New York City and smell the exhaust from the cabs driving on the busy streets at rush hour. I could practically taste the foods being presented at the fancy dinners and events. While the demands on Andy were different this time around, I could definitely relate to some of the stress she was experiencing, but I won’t say why as to not include spoilers.

The only things that really stood out to me as issues were the jumps in time and the title. I felt like time got pushed ahead too quickly and little moments that could have been savored were treated as quick references from a previous time. I know Lauren was trying to get to the point of the story without including as much minutiae, but she could have worked with a smaller time frame and fleshed out the moments within. As for the title, I didn’t feel like there was really any “revenge” going on. Maybe some karma, but that’s about it. Maybe it could have just been simply called The Devil Returns or Return of the Devil. Sure, they sound like horror titles, but with Lauren’s name and a cute cover attached, that concern could be eliminated right away. The one thing I wish I hadn’t done prior to reading this book was seeing the movie of The Devil Wears Prada. Not that I would have known a sequel was in sight back in 2006, but all I kept picturing were the actors and actresses from the movie. Anne Hathaway was playing Andy in my head, along with Emily Blunt as Emily. And, of course, Meryl Streep appeared quite a few times in the movie in my mind.

Overall, I liked (did you hear that, everyone...LIKED) Revenge Wears Prada. I’ve read sequels to chick lit novels before and this one definitely ranks above some of the others. If you’re looking to find out what happens to Andy 10 years after says the F-word to Miranda, I think Lauren did a good job of creating an interesting story for her.

Tracey Meyers:

After so many years of working, one is bound to run into a boss (or two) who makes their life hell and potentially leaves them with a mild case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  (I know that there are one or two that come to mind if I really think about it.)  For Andrea (Andy) Sachs, that boss is Miranda Priestly. At the end of The Devil Wears Prada, Andy thought she was done with Miranda for good.  However, little did she know that "the devil" would in fact return one day.

To say I was excited to hear about the release of Revenge Wears Prada is an understatement.  Thrilled.  Ecstatic.  That was more like it.  I couldn't wait to see what Lauren Weisberger had in store for Andy and Miranda.  My attempts to not get feedback regarding this sequel were futile.  (When you are a book blogger it's hard to remove yourself from such a thing.)  So, as you might imagine, I was saddened to hear "Revenge" wasn't as well received as one might have thought it would be, and quite frankly concerned that I wouldn't like it either.  However, with all that in mind, it didn't take me long put those fears to rest.  Yes, you heard that right!  I am going on record that I did not only LIKE Revenge Wears Prada, but in fact LOVED it!  Actually, I loved it so much, I was constantly e-mailing my BFF (who had already read the book) about it as I progressed in through the story.

From the very beginning I was sucked into this story.  Though potentially confusing for some, I loved how Lauren went from present day to flashing back to what happened over the 10 years the reader has been absent from the characters lives.  It laid the perfect foundation for the story to move forward.  Another thing I loved about this sequel is that you can see that the characters have grown, but yet stay true to the personalities that were solidified in The Devil Wears Prada.  Lastly, the detail in this book is AMAZING.  As a writer, this will serve as an example of the kind of detail I aim to use in any pieces I create.

In terms of the "revenge" aspect of the story, I'm sort of on the fence.  At first I was expecting some sort of epic events that one would see in such a movie like The Empire Strikes Back.  However, though there was revenge, it was a lot more subtle then the title would suggest.  In someways I see how Miranda did in fact get revenge on Andy and Emily. She surely sent their worlds into an unexpected direction and messed up a relationship, or two.  However, at the risk of over analyzing this story too much, I think she did Andy a HUGE favor and sent her life in a better and more satisfying direction.

Whether there was "revenge" or not, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel as though it would be a great autumn read.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Lauren Weisberger:


pascale said...

Like the two of you, I was so excited for the sequel. Remarkably, I heard NO reviews of the book and was so excited to read it on vacation last month.

I did not like it very much though. Here are some of the problems I had: Andy was a wimp with the letter from her mother in law: for such a strong woman that stands up to everything, why didnt she confront her fiance and get it over with.
Emily: how did she become so warm and fuzzy, and then turn on Andy? Made no sense either way.
Her husband (forgot his name): wow: he really put money and success in front of love and commitment: really pulled the wool over Andy's eyes.

The story was boring. I kept readying, waiting for some big reveal... but it was predictable, sad and rather pathetic at times.

I really WANTED to LOVE this book.

But, there were two things I did love:
MIRANDA: oh my she has not changed and I LOVED that. That was the most real part of the book: people DONT really change. I just saw and heard Meryl Streep throughout the book. EXCELLENT.

And... I did like how the old boyfriend was woven into the story and the ultimate ending.

One thing: I really did not remember the book: I have seen the movie SO MANY TIMES that its story replaced the book's story. So, in the movie, I really disliked the boyfriend and had to adjust my thinking about him.

Anyway, I am glad I could read your review AFTER I read the book, and put in my 2 cents!

Thanks for always putting out a terrific blog

Janine said...

I really want to read this book. But, I'll have to wait for the price to go down first.

EFC Chrissy said...

Great reviews. I can't wait to read this sequel.

Luli said...

I liked both of your reviews. I really enjoyed reading this book. I took the plunge even though the reviews were bad. I'm so glad I read it. It was even better than the first book. The author is such a stronger writer and she has come a long way. It was a fun read.

Unknown said...

There is a little snobbery out there sometimes about sequels. I have a rule that if I loved the first, I will always give the second a go. So now I will having read your review. Thx. SD

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading it.. so much just to let Andy find Alex again. I guess Max had to do something other then cheat on her.. I dor one am happy Alex wants to try again...