The Devil Wears Prada

A couple of years ago I read The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. For the first few pages it is witty and amusing, but after the first 50 or so pages so incredibly boring. How can anyone write such trash, even worse read it? Did I really want to know what everyone was wearing? Her second book, virtually a re-write of the first only now the PR industry not the fashion industry, is marginally better.

When I read the book, I thought maybe a short story, but not a novel. I also thought it would make a good film.

A few weeks back I picked up the DVD of The Devil Wears Prada and finally got around to watching it last night. I quite enjoyed it. A rare example of the film being better than the book.

The film is absolutely brilliant. Surprisingly it captures the essence of the book far better than does the book itself. Very clever is the opening sequence where you see the people heading to work but what you see is what is on their feet, their shoes, their boots. The performance by Meryl Streep is worthy of an Oscar. That by Anne Hathaway as the girl from the sticks is also good.

Far, far better than The Devil Wears Prada is the latest novel from Paulo Coelho, The Winner Stands Alone, published this spring. A damning indictment of the fashion and film industry and the cult of celebrity and how easily women are exploited in the name of fashion.

The Winner Stands Alone in a way compliments the film, you get more out of the film, the inner world of fashion after having read The Winner Stands Alone, and the film in turn compliments The Winner Stands Alone. One is set in New York, the other in Cannes at the International Film Festival.

In the syrupy saccharine mini-feature that accompanies the film, the producer praises the director, the director the producer, everyone heaps praise on the screenwriter and trashes the previous screenwriters. Curiously Lauren Weisberger, who did after all write the novel, gets not a mention! Although the novel is rubbish, ironically Lauren Weisberger can write. She does though get a mention in the opening credits.

From what I remember of the book, the ending of the film is different to the book. I only got about halfway through the book and gave it to a Polish friend. She wished to see if the book was as bad in the original English as it was in the Polish translation. What was unforgivable I went out and bought another copy as I wished to see was it really this bad, did it not improve. Sadly no, it didn’t. Now, having watched the film and enjoyed it, I want to read the book again. How sad can you get?

I had originally bought The Devil Wears Prada for a Czech friend. I tried to find her books that were well written, not too difficult and interesting. Not easy to satisfy all three. She has absolutely no interest in fashion. Has a knack though to pick clothes she looks good in. No way, I thought, she will not like this book, a big mistake. Surprisingly she did.

Maybe I am missing something, like why do my Bulgarian friends post pictures of the shoes they are wearing?

The Witch of Portobello, based upon the novel of the same name by Paulo Coelho, has its world premier at the Rome International Film Festival evening Tuesday 20 October 2009.

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