Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger (2003)

Film: 20th Century Fox, directed by David Frankel (2006)


The Devil Wears Prada tells the story of a young woman fresh out of college who finds herself working for a high-profile fashion magazine (Runway) with a horrible, demanding boss (Miranda Pristley). The stakes are high, and Andrea must decide how much of herself she is willing to give up in pursuit of success and acceptance in the cut-throat fashion world that she doesn't belong in.

When I first acquired this book from the library, one of my first thoughts was: "Wow, why is it so thick?" (It's 360 pages in length.) I had been expecting something much shorter, because in my mind, my knowledge of this book classified the novel as a "fluffy beach read" or something of the like. Anyway, the novel turned out to be much lengthier and more detailed than expected. Overall, the writing was acceptable, but I wasn't a huge fan of the book, especially after I had seen the movie. To me, the characters in the novel version were far more annoying than the characters in the movie.

Andrea, the protagonist complained and cursed a lot. Of course, her constant complaints allowed the audience to see how difficult her job was, but I was weary of her character by the time I reached the middle of the book. The novel seemed to drag on, and I felt that many of the pages were filled with the same action. The majority of the novel details Andrea's complaints/struggles as she must cater to Priestley's insane requests. The pages of this novel also include Andrea's breakdowns and her fall-outs with her friends/family. Andrea's character was very rough around the edges and straightforward in her writing/speaking. This character did not really appeal to me. Therefore, I found the novel difficult to work through.

However, some elements of the novel were much better than those in the film. For example, Priestley's senior assistant Emily, actually sympathizes with Andrea. In the movie, Emily is written as a much harsher character. It was nice to see that the two co-workers could function. Also, the reader was given a detailed inside look into the fashion world, which is often not seen through anything but glossy, air-brushed images. Although I did not personally enjoy the novel, Weisberger must have done something right because her novel is a New York Times Bestseller. I would recommend this novel to people with patience.

As previously indicated, I preferred the movie over the novel. The movie felt more concise and logical. It did not include Andrea's endless complaining. Also, Andrea (Anne Hathaway) was a kinder, sweeter character. Anne Hathaway's Andrea was much easier to sympathize with. The movie did also not put a spotlight on Andrea and her friend Lily, who often gets overly drunk. This was an improvement from the book. Overall, the movie version just seemed to have a better flow. Seeing the designer clothes on screen was fun and also helpful to understanding the glamour that accompanies the hard work. It was also easier for me to see the clothes rather than have to imagine the clothes as they were being described in writing. Finally, Meryl Streep's Priestly helped me, as a member of the audience, to really witness the evil that Weisberger wrote about.

All in all, the book and the movie were vastly different from each other, because the movie was such a loose adaption of the novel. I have compiled a long list of differences between the book and the movie which can be seen in my previous post.

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