When Favourites Disappoint: Revenge Wears Prada

A few disclaimers before we begin today’s post. First, I am an avid reader and lover of the genre known colloquially as ‘chick lit.’ I continue to love books by Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes and was thrilled to hear that a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada was coming out. Secondly, I loved The Devil Wears Prada the book and the movie. I have read all of Lauren Weisberger’s previous work and remember fondly making my way through Everyone Worth Knowing, sitting in my friend’s parent’s bakery with the most fantastic brownie you have ever tasted. Everyone Worth Knowing is my favourite of Weisberger’s books but obviously The Devil Wears Prada is a classic.

OK. Now that we have those points out of the way, let’s begin.

I just finished reading (a library copy of) Revenge Wears Prada and I hated it. Hated it.

Let me just reiterate that I love chick lit and Lauren Weisberger.

When we last saw Andy, she was on her way to doing her own thing, writing independently, not making any money doing it but she was doing things on her own terms. She had ended things with her seriously unsupportive boyfriend and figuring life out on her own. I related to this Andy. I cheered this Andy on.

revenge prada

Fast forward 10 years and we meet Andy on her wedding day. Her huge, over-the-top magazine-featured wedding. She’s marrying the son of a media dynasty and runs a successful, glamourous Runway-style wedding magazine. Soon she finds herself pregnant and any glimmer had of the old Andy is gone as she weeps at the idea of leaving her new baby and tries to shove her post-baby body into fancy clothes for a party.

The whole time she’s pining for Alex, the ex-boyfriend who didn’t understand why she would spend a year of her life working for Miranda Priestly, even though she kept telling him that it was temporary. She has a good looking, smart, caring husband and all she can think about is what life might have been like if only she had just stayed with Alex. We constantly flashback to life immediately after Runway and are supposed to be thrilled with this new success. And I was. The whole magazine thing was really fantastic. But it was ruined since we spend the entire book in Andy’s head and she just obsesses and overanalyzes everything.

Don’t even get me started on what we’ve done to Emily. Wonderful, hilarious, capable Emily is now married to a serial philanderer, a sleazy reality-tv show producer who barely conceals his many affairs. Originally united by their shared hatred of Miranda Priestly, Emily becomes obsessed with her over the course of the book and constantly tells Andy how she’s overreacting (which isn’t really off base) until she finally totally betrays their friendship.

And I hated that.

Mostly though, I wanted to like this book. I wanted to be delighted by a visit with these characters that I loved nearly 10 years ago. And I felt cheated. And preached at. And oh so disappointed.

Another score for the library though! I’m glad not to have shelled out for this one! I only gave it one star on Goodreads which I think is the lowest I’ve ever rated a book.


In Which I Read About Cats and Like It

I recently re-watched The Devil Wears Prada and The September Issue. Then, for Christmas, I got Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington. In hindsight, this was probably not coincidental as the person that bought me the book also suggested the viewing material. But it made for a very cohesive movie/book experience.

Having now finished Grace: A Memoir I feel kind of bad for loving The Devil Wears Prada so much. Grace has very strong feelings about the movie, as does Ms. Anna Wintour and while I can’t say I blame them, I would also disagree. Grace maintains that the movie makes fashion and fashion people look superficial and stupid. And in the beginning that, and the terror Meryl Streep’s character inspires, is the point. But things don’t really start to fall into place for Andi until she starts to take fashion, and the power of fashion, seriously. Fashion is a serious (and seriously glamourous) business.


Back to the book.

Grace Coddington freely admits that the only reason anyone knows who she is, is because of The September Issue. Completely true. She’s a standout in that movie. I originally saw it because I wanted the access to Anna Wintour but came away in love with Grace Coddington (although make no mistake, I’m equally enamoured of and in awe of Anna Wintour).

Grace: A Memoir takes you through the incredible life of Grace Coddington, from the rural Welsh village where she lived in a hotel, to her days at British and American Vogue. One could argue I suppose that it’s just a history of Vogue magazine but I would disagree. Although an inordinate amount of Grace’s years have been spent working at Vogue, her memoirs run chronologically for the first 2/3 maybe and then different chapters are dedicated to different aspects of her life. There’s a chapter dedicated to Anna Wintour and their working relationship (which for most of us is reason enough to buy the book), a chapter dedicated to the different photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists and models she’s worked with, and yes, even a chapter about cats. Only for Grace Coddington would I read a chapter dedicated to cats.

I’m a dog person.

The book is funny and personal and sometimes very surprising. Like, did you know that her first husband was Mr. Chow? Like Mr. Chow the restaurant. The book is also littered with her drawings of all sorts of things: Anna Wintour, Grace’s cats, different outfits she’s loved, Karl Lagerfeld, Karl Lagerfeld’s cat – it was a charming surprise.

I read this book in about a sitting. It was delicious. And such a beautiful book too. Not that we should expect anything less from the legendary Grace Coddington.

If you want to read an excerpt from the book, click here.