The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite movies. I saw it in theaters. I bought it on DVD when it was still $20 instead of waiting until it could be fished out of the $5 bin. I also, being the reader that I am, read the book. Now, this movie came out in 2006 so I was 15 and 16 years old when I first saw it and read it. The book, at the time, did not impress me much. I enjoyed it enough that I kept it on my shelf, if for no other reason than that it didn’t suck and I love the movie so much.
Recently, a sequel titled Revenge Wears Prada was released and I snatched up the trade paperback for $3, if for no other reason than curiosity and nostalgia. I finally read it within the last month or so and I really enjoyed it. It was frustrating at times, because the book could have been a lot shorter if certain characters had just spoken up instead of shutting up, but it had some interesting elements that made me enjoy it. It also made me want to reread the original. I just finished reading The Devil Wears Prada for the second time in my life and I am just amazed at how different of a reading experience it was this time around.
Andrea Sachs is a twenty something college graduate trying to get her feet wet in the big city and break into magazine publishing when she lands the “dream job” that “a million girls would kill for.” What she doesn’t know is that her boss is insanely demanding and quite possibly the devil incarnate. It’s a classic tale of that first job and the boss from hell. It makes sense that it didn’t really mean much to me at 16 years old.
Now, at twenty something and post college myself, it actually means something. I can relate to the struggle of dealing with life post-college and trying to land that dream job and meet the approval and expectations of everyone around you. There’s so much to this book that I didn’t really get on the first go-round. Between it and the sequel, it made me wonder if there are some universal truths about what it is like being a college graduate and coming to terms with the real world.
In the second book, there is a line where Andy comments on how naïve she was about being a writer in New York, that being able to write anywhere was good. There seems to be a loss of innocence in The Devil Wears Prada that a lot of people don’t talk about. It’s a loss of the idealism, the naïve attitude, and coming to the realization that life is not going to turn out how you expected when you were cramming for finals and plotting world peace. It’s not so simple, but that doesn’t mean life can’t be good. Andy managed to find happiness by being true to herself and doing what she loved, even if she never made it all the way to The New Yorker as she originally planned. She just had to learn a few things along the way.
Being an adult is learning how to manage priorities, to decide what matters most, and when to draw the line in your own life. The Devil Wears Prada is not a perfect story, and Andy is definitely a very flawed character, but especially if you’re in the right age bracket and you have dreams of being a writer, there’s something to be gained from reading it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch the movie.