The voice vibrated in her toes, and Andy knew it was Alex before she turned around. Her Alex. Her first love, the man she always thought she’d marry…
As promised, I present The Single Diaries’ first book report. Released over the summer, Revenge Wears Prada is the sequel to novel-turned-film The Devil Wears Prada. I was number 30 on the waiting list at my local library and practically ran to the branch when it was ready for pick-up. (OK, so I drove… I do live in L.A.)
I am a fan of both the novel by Lauren Weisberger as well as the film starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. I found the character of Andy to be more like her on-screen persona (i.e. Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of her) than what I remembered from the first book; that is to say she was whinier and a bit annoying. In typical screen-Andy fashion, of course she would make rash decisions based on one bump in the road. Regardless, I rather enjoyed this read for what it was: another chick-lit tale of the first year of marriage.
With that “why mess with a good thing” mentality I had no expectations for this sequel and, due to extenuating circumstances, I read from a perspective of analyzing relationships (from her marriage to her mother-in-law, from the new friends to the changes in her best friendships and, most fascinatingly, her exes). This approach allowed for a more nuanced reading of the book than that of others who have read and reviewed.
I like the quick snapshots of characters that Andy encounters for a brief moment; it mimics the experience of life since not every character Weisberger introduced ends up playing a significant role. What stayed with me were the moments I related to when the narrator verbalizes emotions surrounding friendship and love, particularly those involving characters we know from the first book.
She runs into her ex-fling Christian, who no one really liked but Andy can’t seem to get enough of. Sorry, Andy, he’s more sleaze than bad-boy, so we can’t relate to your lust for him. What we can relate to is your unmistakable and inexplicable desire for someone whom you have always been attracted to. Despite being “happily” married to a guy—who is, by definition, the “total package”—Andy still feels an unsettling attraction when she’s around this guy. We are all human; we all have wants, but if we dig deep enough we know that our mind was right all along: Lust is rarely more than lust.
Her encounters with her ex-boyfriend Alex (whom you will remember from either version of the first; on-screen name: Nate) strike a familiar chord with any of us who’ve lost our “first love”: excitement, confusion, and a recognition of the heartbreak we felt when we first decided to go our separate ways… the question of if what you’re feeling is nostalgia or a true connection that still exists, and may always exist. At first there’s an ease that you feel with anyone who was so important to you—even for a period of time—then the sudden realization that you have changed, and they have too. S/he is no longer what s/he was but, most probably, a stranger who looks like someone you knew intimately in the past.
Best-pal Lily makes an appearance to remind us of true friendship’s ability to keep us grounded, no matter how far away we move from who we used to be. Thousands of miles apart, Andy and Lily continue to nurture their friendship with long phone calls and shared experiences—Andy calling Lily to download notable encounters and ask for advice, Lily protecting Andy by telling her only what she needs to know and saving the rest for later. They both value their relationship, setting aside hours to talk despite the time difference and making a point of traveling the miles to be with each other on important occasions.
Sure, the ending is a bit far-fetched, but it is chick-lit and not serious literature so you can expect overt romanticization of real life. That said, there are pieces of real life that speak to the single girl’s experience making this a worthwhile read—especially for those of us who loved the first.
Readers: If you’ve read Revenge Wears Prada, what encounters/relationships did you relate to?
Catherine Abalos is a few books behind on her reading goal of 2013 reading goal, according to GoodReads. Stay tuned to see if she reaches it!