Set against the backdrop of high fashion in New York City, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger is the story of Andrea Sachs, a recent graduate from Smith College whose dream it is to write for The New Yorker. After spending some time abroad with her boyfriend, Alex, Andrea contracts dysentery, loses twenty pounds and returns home to recover. Little does she know that losing twenty pounds off her already slender frame makes her a perfect candidate to work at Runway magazine, a fact she realizes after halfheartedly dropping her resume off at every magazine publisher in the city and getting a call back from the extremely trendy fashion publication. Although Andrea has no desire to work in fashion, publishing or otherwise, she takes the job as Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly’s junior assistant after being assured that, after a year of service, she can pretty much secure any job she wants in the city.
Before she knows it, Andrea is thrust into a world which she barely knew existed. Each person working at the magazine is skinnier than the next, everyone dresses in the trendiest (and most expensive) clothes imaginable, and Miranda Priestly expects her assistants to work fourteen-hour days doing menial jobs such as making sure her coffee is the right temperature and wrapping Christmas gifts. To make matters worse, Miranda is ungrateful, rude, spoiled, and does not accept her employees, especially her assistants, making any mistakes.
As much as she hates Miranda, Andrea continues to do her job, holding out hope that a job at The New Yorker is only months away. However, as she continues to put in long hours, her relationships with her boyfriend, best friend and family as well as her self-esteem begin to suffer. Events culminate when she must travel to Paris with Miranda and make a decision between her job and the rest of her life.
Packed full of references to designers, models, clothes and glamour, The Devil Wears Prada would certainly be interesting to anyone who is a part of or who wants to become a part of the high fashion industry. Andrea as a character is interesting and easy to relate to as she struggles to both fit into a world she is a stranger to and keep her sanity. However, the plot becomes stale early on as we realize that each day in Andrea’s world is no different than the last, and as readers learn valuable lessons pages and pages before Andrea herself does.
If you’re interested in New York and international fashion, you’ll probably want to pick up a copy of The Devil Wears Prada for research reasons alone. If you’re more interested in an entertaining plot and characters who grow on you, you might do better to look somewhere else.