March 17, 2007
Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada
I began a compilation entry on 'chick lit' novels a few weeks ago and lost interest in writing it, basically because I found that the novels themselves were uninteresting. They included two or three by Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes, Good in Bed) and one called The Wives of Bath (the title was the best part). The novels were not bad; they were literate and had recognizable and often sympathetic characters in realistic modern situations. But they struck me as completely lacking ideas--about those characters, for instance, and the historical and social factors that determined their situations. Still, they entertained me reasonably well, and the ones I actually bought can keep their spots on my shelf: they aren't as original and funny as Bridget Jones's Diary but I'm likely to reread them some dreary winter weekend in my future when I need something undemanding to pass the time. The Devil Wears Prada, on the other hand, is that rare item for me: a disposable book, one I actually regret having paid money for. It was not funny, interesting, or entertaining; its premise wore thin on about page 3; its occasional attempts to move beyond cheap parody into actual social satire or commentary were unconvincing; and the 'revelations' of its main character were unearned, in part because of the whole set-up was so extreme.