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30 August 2013

'Revenge Wears Prada' by Lauren Weisberger

This sequel to 'The Devil Wears Prada', which I loved, disappointed me for several reasons

I did not like this book.  I read 'The Devil Wears Prada' ages ago and liked it.  I also enjoyed the film.  When I heard that after ten years a sequel would be published, I marked it in my calendar.  I was disappointed for several reasons.  I am almost embarrassed to write this blog post because I usually find Lauren Weisberger entertaining.  But my mind was made up when a friend whom I had not seen in two months commented (without my asking) on how much she also did not like this book.  Too bad.  All authors have low points in their careers when a book is not as good as previous or expected.  It is a pity that it has to be this one.

Ok, ok... I am getting around to saying it.

Andy was annoying.  As a character, she was all over the place.  Not only had she not grown in ten years, she may have grown backwards.  I want to state that until she made that final decision about her marriage, I was certain that her backbone had been removed and put in a jar somewhere in an editor's basement.  The ending redeemed the rest of the story until that syrupy reunion.  It just all seemed forced.  Her friends and persons of influence were somehow measured by Andy with supremely rose colored glasses; so rose colored, she may have been seeing them in a completely different spectrum.

Having said all that, the one area that I liked was Andy's pregnancy.  From beginning to end it felt real and not glossed.  The pregnancy was unexpected and many women can relate to that.  Her reaction to the pressures of work versus her own changing body were true to life.  Finally, once she had given birth and had to return to work, her emotions, her exhaustion and her collapsed body image were so familiar and honest that I thought maybe there was hope for Andy after all.  Perhaps in ten years time when parenthood has taught her the importance of consistancy, and self trust as well as speaking her mind, she could be interesting once more.  After all, when we last saw Andy ten years ago, she had learnt the value of standing up for herself, speaking her mind and acting on her principles.  So what happened in the last ten years that she had to learn the lesson again?

Next is the horrid Devil herself, Miranda Priestley.  She was her magnificent, superior self, I was relieved to see.  What I did not see, were any signs of a premeditated, flawless revenge.  The more I thought about the whole situation the more I realized that any failures in business or fractured and collapsed relationships happened due to the protagonists themselves.  Sometimes it became obvious why Miranda had fired some of them.  Miranda Priestley at the top of the food chain does not need to take interest in insects.  Two small flies circling a rather small cake are not worthy of her notice.  If anything, the paranoia and greed of those beneath her did all the destruction she could want, had she truly taken an interest.  From the title of the book, I had expected Miranda Priestley to have a more central role like in the first book.  She was ever present but often in people's memories, nightmares and shuddering flashbacks... She was rarely active and when physically present, flawlessly professional.

I am disappointed.  It happens.  Not the end of the world but I wanted to like this book.  I cannot.  It will not discourage me from reading Lauren Weisberger though.  She has made me laugh and smile often enough to know she can do better.

Lauren Weisberger 
ISBN: 9780007311019 

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