Caffeine-fueled ‘Devil Wears Prada’ ramblings

I just finished listening to the audiobook version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” I’d bought the book a few years ago but either sold it or tossed it off the balcony or lined the litterbox with it (or Maddie probably took a dump on it, like she does everything else. That brat defiled the house last night. New carpet! Ruined!!!)

Anyway, the audiobook was read by Rachel Leigh Cooke, known best (or only. Whichever) for her role in the Freddie Prinze movie “She’s All That.” And my whole problem with that movie is the same issue I took with the silver-screen adaptation of “Devil,” which was that in “She’s All That,” Rachel goes from the biggest, “ugliest” dork in school to the prom queen (or whatever. I am not looking up details) simply by taking off her damn glasses and putting on clothes that fit.

In “Devil” you’ve got a beautiful Anne Hathaway who is frowned upon for not being able to afford a designer wardrobe as a just-out-of-college executive assistant. She gets a “makeover” by someone brushing the tangles out of her hair and replacing her Gap crap with Chanel couture. Woo. It’s pretty hard to believe the ugly-duckling storyline when you’ve got fundamentally attractive actors who only get/need a five-minute makeover. Sorry, but it’s NOT HARD to make over a person who’s a size 2. Gah.

But I have to admit I liked the audiobook version. I’d had an initial impression of the author/main character having too much of a sense of entitlement to all the finer things she received, but you know what? I remember being 22 and working for the woman I called “The Cuntess.” I remember her summoning me into her office, handing me a piece of paper and telling me to go photocopy it. Never mind that she had a copier/printer/fax right next to her fucking desk — I had to run down the hall (out of her sight) to make her the single photocopy, whereupon she’d put a Post-It Note on it and have me run it upstairs or across town to City Hall because god forbid the bitch could send a goddamned interoffice e-mail on our motherfucking Intranet.


But yeah, I remember being so fresh-faced and edumucated and idealistic and shit, and she did nothing but stomp on my pretty little head full of pretty little ambitions. I stayed with her seven months until the verbal harassment from her top assistant drove me over the goddamned edge. I filed a grievance and gave one week’s notice with nary a backup job in sight. I remember when one of the reporters we worked with published a huge expose on what a fraud The Cuntess was/is/will always be. And my job included cutting articles out of the newspaper, pasting them onto letter-sized sheets and distributing them to key players in the agency. I GLEEFULLY shared that article with the world. I think I put one in every employee’s box that day. Fuck, I still have it in my portfolio because I never wanted to lose it — it was the one day in seven months that I LOVED my job there!

So, I think the author didn’t necessarily feel entitled to anything other than salvaging her dignity. When you sign up for a job, you tend to forget that they have to impress you right back. Many of us take an opportunity not because it’s perfect, but because the last one was so bad or it’s better than nothing at all, and we all just try to get the experience and put in that year and just try to survive it. But we don’t start out that way. We start out wanting to savor it, milk it for all it’s worth and learn some new skills to show off to the next employer. And I think that’s all the author really tried to do, as she struggled with watching her free time and her loved ones fall through her fingers.

In the book, she doesn’t live with her boyfriend (as she does in the movie) but lives with her best friend, who becomes an alcoholic and gets a DUI and that’s how “Andy” leaves Paris — she needs to get home and she’s been demeaned by “Miranda” just enough to make her realize that something’s got to give. I hated the friend (“Lily”) storyline in the audiobook until I realized it had to do with the ending. I guess it served to humanize Andy, although I don’t see where it’s her job to act as hostage negotiator/warden/nanny. Then again, at that age, I was definitely my own version of Andy, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. 😉

I have to say that while I loved the movie because it’s just fucking good, I liked the “book” better. The ending rocked. Andy goes into the Elias-Clarke building one last time, not as the frazzled assistant with four cups of Starbucks that will never be hot enough for the raging bitch upstairs (did she ever hear of a microwave?) who’s balancing the woman’s dry-cleaning and other stuff she herself is above carrying, but instead as a woman going to meet the editor of another publication to discuss a freelance writing project. The guard motions to the new girl who is doing the frustrating juggling act, and Andy is now a poised, happy, welcome guest in the building and not the slave/peon/second-class citizen she used to be. Those shoes were too tight for her to wear and now someone else has to fill them.

I think the book or, at least, those of us who can relate to it, has the potential to discuss the forward actions of bosses from hell. I mean, “Miranda” admits that people work for her for a year and go on to better positions. Wouldn’t she want to treat her staff well so that they’d stay with her? I mean, her impatience to me clearly stems from expecting that they should psychically know what she wants at all times. She gets bored with having to ask them for what she wants so she just terrorizes them into guessing. I would think that if you’d cultivate a good relationship with someone, you’d keep them for a few years and you actually could achieve that easy, effortless relationship. But when you’re making people despise you, you’re damn lucky they’re not playing pranks on you.

Not saying I ever did that. Nope, not sayin’ that at all. Never. Nope. Nah. Well. … 😉

Anyway, that’s my summer “read.” The girl who used to read a book a week, then a book a month, now a book every year, is now doing one audiobook a year. I guess I’m a fine one to talk about having no life. 🙂 Pass me the marriage certificate, as I’ve been living in sin with my employment establishment. Luckily, the devil isn’t a devil and they don’t wear Prada, but I definitely have to. …

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