Laura Weisberger’s 2003 bestselling novel The Devil Wears Prada is finally getting a sequel, Revenge Wears Prada, due out Tuesday. For those of you who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here’s the plot: Andy Sachs, a naïve college grad with dreams of breaking into publishing, lands a coveted position as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway magazine. Hijinks ensue. Andy climbs the ranks and earns a trip to Paris’s fashion week, only to realize the glittering world of fashion is not for her. (I mean, no kidding? She’s got a conscience and likes food.) Ten years later, where Revenge begins, Andy is settled into her career and relationship, and things are going swimmingly until Miranda shows up to enact some kind of vengeance. I’m guessing the on-trend stilettos are implied.
Dare I say it — Weisberger’s plotlines are frivolous? I don’t feel the impulse to run out and buy a book about the weal and woe of Manhattan’s uber-elite. I’m not alone in this opinion, either. Weisberger’s books have not always found favorable critical reviews. The New York Times dismissed her second novel, Everyone Worth Knowing, as “fatuous [and] clunky.” Ouch.
In spite of subpar reviews, Weisberger’s chick lit has found success by chronicling the lives of women who have a love-hate relationship with the demands of A-list lives. The novel is loosely based on Weisberger’s experience as Anna Wintour’s assistant at Vogue, so Devil is not so much a novel as a thinly-veiled tell-all book, the perfect fuel of women’s simultaneous hatred and jealousy of the fashion industry. Women want to feel morally superior to an industry that peddles one body type as beautiful and markets gorgeous but impractical clothes. At the same time, The Devil Wears Prada gives women an opportunity to slip into the world of money, power, and glamor that they will likely never experience themselves. This tension of I know-it’s-wrong-but-it feels-so-right is probably responsible for The Devil Wears Prada’s popularity. I’ve never read The Devil Wears Prada, but the movie was charming in a gossipy, oh-no-she-didn’t kind of way.
Given the success of the first book, I anticipate the sequel will do well, but I think what we’re all waiting for is Meryl Streep to play Miranda Priestly again so she can make awesome disapproving faces like this one: