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Literature / The Devil Wears Prada

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The Devil Wears Prada is a 2003 novel by Lauren Weisberger. It was adapted into a 2006 film directed by David Frankel and starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.

It tells the story of a young woman named Andrea "Andy" Sachs. Her first job out of college is as personal assistant to a merciless New York fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly. With help from Miranda's assistant Emily and art director Nigel, Andy starts to work her way up the ladder... but at what cost?

Weisberger wrote a sequel novel, Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, published in 2013. Although the film adaptation was a sleeper hit and continues to be fondly remembered, virtually everybody involved in its production has shown little interest in adapting the sequel.

In 2018, Weisberger released a sequel about Emily titled When Life Gives You Lululemons. It focuses on Emily helping a senator's wife who is framed for drunk driving, and resisting all of Miranda's efforts to rehire her.

These books provide examples of:

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    The Devil Wears Prada 
  • The Alcoholic: Lily becomes one over the course of the book, which culminates in her ending up comatose following a drunk driving accident, and receiving a DWI.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; after her drunk driving accident, Lily has scars on her face from where the windshield glass hit her.
  • Better as Friends: Andy and Alex by the end, since their romantic relationship is too frayed.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Emily's forced to reschedule a flight for Miranda and her husband on her birthday. She's in tears because she misses her own party and Miranda is unreasonable.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Andy gets fired for saying "Go fuck yourself" to Miranda and leaving her in Paris, killing any chance she has of receiving editorial. In addition Lily receives a DUI after recovering from her coma and Alex breaks up with Andy because of the Skewed Priorities. But Andy eventually sells an article about her time at Runway and slowly builds her writing career like she always wanted. In the sequel, she and Emily have reconnected and started the bridal magazine.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In the book, Miranda is constantly changing her plans and wishes without communicating anything to her assistants. Even when Andy follows her directions perfectly, Miranda sneers at her that she needed it a different way as if that was what she had said in the first place.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The numerous clothes that Andy "borrows" end up giving her $38,000 after she sells it to a store that likes designers.
  • Clothing Damage: In the first chapter Andy breaks a heel, stains a suit, and accidentally burns a second set of heels.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: The English Miranda is described as leaving high school in London at seventeen, three months short of graduation. In the UK students leave high school (which could also be called secondary school or even comprehensive by the older generation.) at sixteen without 'graduating' (though nearly all get some qualifications- usually GCSEs- at this point; those that stay to 18 take additional qualifications for the last 2 years). Her siblings also slipped her 'bills' when they could afford it. Depending on Miranda's exact age the official school leaving age at the time might even have been 15. Given that she was from an apparently poor East End family it is unlikely that she would have been expected (or even allowed) to stay at school beyond that. The qualifications at the time would have been CSEs or O-Levels depending on ability (at 16) and A-Levels (at 18).
  • Doomed New Clothes: Lampshaded by Andy when she damages about $4000 worth of merchandise in the first chapter alone.
  • Entitled to Have You: Christian has this attitude about Andy, even though she's already dating someone else. He invites her and her boyfriend to dinner as well.
  • Faux Affably Evil: How Miranda comes off to Andrea in their first encounter.
  • Feet-First Introduction: In the film Miranda is introduced this way when getting out of her limousine.
  • Fiction 500: Miranda gets phones worth hundreds of dollars, and yet she is insulted to receive them as gifts. Andy happily takes the phone to give to Alex as a present.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Andrea and Emily as they work hard to meet Miranda's ever-changing demands.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: While in Paris with Miranda and so close to finishing her minimum-year requirement, Andy while with Miranda gets a phone call from Alex saying that Lily's in a coma. Initially Andy chooses Miranda, which makes her think that she's gone over the Moral Event Horizon. Then she delivers a Precision F-Strike to Miranda, charges a flight home to the corporate credit card before Miranda cancels it, and goes to check on Lily. She also breaks up with Alex and keeps away from Christian, moving back in with her parents and selling her designer clothes to pay any remaining bills.
  • Googling the New Acquaintance: We get a lot of backstory on Miranda from what Andrea says about her Google search just after she gets the job.
  • Hope Spot: Andy's year is nearly up, Miranda knows her name and soon she might get an editorial position at Runway or The New Yorker; then her phone rings, revealing Lily is in a coma, and Alex wants her to come home as soon as possible.
  • How We Got Here: So just how did Andy get to the job where she has to drive a stick shift car and a sick puppy to Miranda Priestley's office? The second chapter illuminates that perfectly.
  • Impossible Task: Combined with her Friend-or-Idol Decision, what makes Andy tell Miranda to "Go fuck yourself": Miranda wants the twins' passports renewed at night when the offices are closed in time to make a flight in three hours. Even Andy knows that doing something like that is impossible, not least because she is not the twins' legal guardian, no matter how much she can forge Miranda's signature.
  • Informed Judaism: In the last quarter of the book, Andy reveals that her mother is Jewish and drops a little knowledge of Judaism. It is never confirmed by the mother nor brought up again.
  • Insane Troll Logic: How Miranda operates on a regular basis. It gets to the point that Andy has to make Miranda her top priority in life, and she's relieved to see one "normal" person see the logic as insane.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Miranda when doing an impromptu performance review of Andy points out that it's rude of Andy to make those little sighs and put in minimal effort into her work as an assistant. Apart from that, she says that Andy is "reasonably competent" on the job.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Emily. Even though she's highly stressed and insults people with bad taste, she does show Andy the ropes and promises to make sure she gets paid on days when she can't clock into the office. In the sequel they start a bridal magazine together after Andy gets fired and Emily is promoted out of her job.
  • A Lady And A Scholar: Lily is a graduate student getting her PhD in Russian literature.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: It takes four years for Andy's sister Jill and her husband to have one baby.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Alex and Andy break up because he thinks she's developed Skewed Priorities and they haven't talked about their relationship in full for a while.
  • The Makeover: Andy gets one several months after working at Runway, since everyone "borrows" from the closet.
  • Meaningful Rename: Miranda Priestley from Miriam Princhek, abandoning her Jewish roots.
  • Mirror Character:
    • Andy to Emily. Both think they're better than the other, and both hate Miranda but do their best to accomodate her in every way. The only difference is that Emily actually likes fashion.
    • Andy has a Your Approval Fills Me with Shame moment when Miranda tells her "I see so much of myself in you" after Andy has to explain that one of her friends got into a coma, but she doesn't want to leave Paris because she made a commitment to her job.
    • Later on at the end Andy sells her stories about Runway to an editor who also worked for Miranda as a Beleaguered Assistant and who praises Andy for cursing her out.
  • Misery Poker: After complaining about her first sucky day on the job, Andy acknowledges that Lily had a worse day by going on a date with a guy living with his parents on Long Island.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Andy is nice to the company-ordered chauffeur, even buying him a sandwich on her first day on the job. He's surprised because most assistants are not that nice. Later on, out of spite towards her boss, she starts buying coffee for the homeless people outside the Carlson-Elias building on the corporate credit card. In Paris, she surprises the hotel staff by offering to tip them despite assurances that Miranda's got them covered.
  • No Indoor Voice: Nigel has none.
  • No Sympathy: Discussed. Andy complains about her job and she gets plenty of sympathy, but no one really understands what it's like working for Miranda. It gets to the point where Alex accuses her of having Skewed Priorities when they have to cancel a trip together, not realizing that Andy's under Miranda's thumb and the other choice is to be blacklisted.
  • Parental Abandonment: Lily's parents left her to follow the Grateful Dead on tour.
  • Parental Substitute: Andy's parents take care of Lily after her drunk driving accident.
  • Persona Non Grata: Andy after she gets fired for cursing out Miranda. With that said, she still sells magazine articles and secures another interview in the Carlson-Elias building.
  • Really Gets Around: Lily with various guys; it only gets bad when she doesn't remember taking one to bed after drinking too much.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: Miranda has carefully cultivated an RP to replace the rough East End accent of her poor upbringing.
  • Sick Episode: Emily gets mononucleosis right before she's scheduled to go to Paris with Miranda.
  • Significant Birthdate: Eduardo thinks it's cool that he and Andy are both born June 16.
  • Skewed Priorities: Discussed when Alex chews out Andy for prioritizing her job over their personal plans and Lily's health. Even by the end he's astounded that she initially preferred to stay in Paris than to come home and check on Lily.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Downplayed since it never goes beyond dancing. Andy, flattered by Christian's attention towards her, flirts with him after Alex says they should both take a break. Also, he kissed her on the neck and she never tells Alex.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: One of the people Andy meets gives her a photo of Miranda's torso spliced with a snake's tail due to the outfit she was wearing and some Insane Troll Logic. Andy asks for a blowup of it, but she says that at the party in question Miranda looked sad and alone, despite appearing professional, and tears up the photo.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage:
    • Offscreen Emily had this with previous interviewer candidates.
    • Andy searching for apartments. Finally Lily pulls through for her to find a place $800 a month that is decent.
    • Andy also goes through this while interviewing nannies for Miranda's girls. She hires the twelfth girl, who speaks more French than English.
  • Too Good to Be True: Andy mentions this about her job as she's starting out.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Though their birthdays are established to happen in the course of the novel, Miranda's twins and Andy herself do not become a year older in the just over a year that takes place in the novel.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: Andy wishes that coffee were the only thing she had to get.

    Revenge Wears Prada 
  • Anxiety Dreams: Andy starts the novel as still having them about Miranda. She eventually realizes she has PTSD.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Miranda destroys Andrea's marriage and her magazine The Plunge after purchasing it, and Andrea has severed ties with Emily for going back to Miranda and betraying her. Still, Andy has a successful writing career, and a loving daughter. She and Alex decide to try dating one more time, now that they're older.
  • Call-Back: Andy in the first book noted that a lot of people overlook that Miranda is a Bad Boss, including Emily. This ends up hurting both of them during the novel.
  • False Soulmate: Max Harrison is this. He definitely has his good qualities, such as ignoring his mother's attempt at a Parental Marriage Veto and being a doting father to Clementine. However, as the book goes on, he shows an unfortunate disconnect with Andy's actual feelings, repeatedly saying things that put her in an awkward position and assuming that the "right" choices for Andy are the ones that just so happen to match his priorities. This culminates in Max going behind his wife's back to sell her magazine to the woman she still has Anxiety Dreams about, because supposedly Andy was being too "shortsighted" to be trusted with her own career. Andy couldn't see any way to salvage the marriage after that sort of betrayal.
  • Fatal Flaw: Emily's worship for Miranda and not seeing her as a Jerkass. It costs her her editorial job and her friendship with Andrea.
  • Forgiveness: Ten years after their first breakup, Alex is able to fall for Andy again.
  • Happy Ending Override: In the end of the first novel, Andy had been coping with her breakup with Alex, securing a new job while freelancing, and mending ties with her family and Lily. Come this book's beginning, Lily moves to Colorado and Andy's parents divorce.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Andy left Emily in the lurch after cursing out Miranda, flew home to take care of Lily,and started a freelance writing career.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Andrea divorces her husband for selling her magazine behind her back to Miranda, with Emily's help.
  • No Sympathy: Despite comforting her after the Miranda Anxiety Dreams, Max really didn't see the problem in selling The Plunge to Miranda behind Andy's back.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The warning flags for Andy and Emily's different opinions on Miranda start waving very early on. After Miranda makes her reappearance with an offer to buy The Plunge, the friends were both eager to begin a conversation on "Can you believe it!?" as soon as she left. But while Andy saw the encounter as akin to barely avoiding a natural disaster, and wanted to laugh about Miranda being so self-involved she didn't even remember firing them, Emily was overcome by what an honor it was to have Miranda interested in buying their magazine.
  • Shipper on Deck: Emily calls Alex and tells him that Andy divorced Max.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Emily towards Andrea, though she really doesn't show it until the end. When she realizes that Andrea was right about Miranda screwing them over, she calls Alex in a panic after her second firing and says she messed up, while encouraging him to go after Andrea.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math:
    • In the original novel, Miranda's twins were established to be eleven years old. This novel is stated to begin ten years later, and the twins are stated to be eighteen.
    • On her wedding day, Andy is stated in the narration to be thirty-four. Two years later, Jill claims that Andy is still thirty-four. Andy's thoughts support this by saying everything up to that point has taken place before her thirty-fifth birthday.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: How the book starts. Andrea has a successful career as a writer and a magazine editor. She's also marrying a man she adores. Then Miranda reenters her life, and it goes From Bad to Worse the minute she faces her former boss.
  • You Know What You Did: Emily doesn't know why Miranda fired her the first time.

    When Life Gives You Lululemons 
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Andy sends some dry remarks when Emily tells her that Miranda wants Emily back. Even Emily admits it's amusing.
  • Belated Happy Ending: Emily mentions with some derision that Andy married Alex and settled down with him in a Vermont farm. Still, she's the one who orchestrated the situation.
  • Character Development: Emily has shed her wide-eyed worship of Miranda and accepting everything she does. And she's used her abrasive nature to clean up stars' PR images.
  • Deal with the Devil: Emily outright calls her bargain with Miranda to destroy Graham Hartley this. As part of it, she has to work for Miranda again, though this time she leaves on her terms.
  • Derailing Love Interests: The sequel confirms that sadly Christian was only interested in Andy when she was unattainable. She mentions going over for casual sex and leaving in shame.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Emily takes a more personal investment in Karolina's plight when they find out that Graham is using the case to marry someone else with better connections. Miriam also calls out people for believing the story when Karolina hasn't done any drinking while taking fertility treatment.
    • While Emily doubts it was out of any inherent goodness, Miranda seems to take interest in hearing that Karolina has been framed for a DUI, gaslit, and separated from her stepson Harry. Karolina also used to appear at Runway as a model and remained in Miranda's good graces.
    • The moment that leads to Karolina never forgiving Graham is learning that he got a vasectomy and let her undergo five years of stressful therapy treatments.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Realizing she needs an ace in her hole, Emily goes to Miranda to ask for help with Karolina. It pays off.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Miriam contacts the cop who arrested Karolina, he reveals he resigned from the force to help out with the family business and is regretful on realizing she was never given a Breathalyzer due to orders from the top. He agrees to go on the record, since he's no longer a cop.
  • Pet the Dog: Miranda is very sweet towards children, like Miriam's daughter when Emily brings her to the office. She also promises to give Emily a good baby-shower gift, despite her dislike that Emily is pregnant.
  • Rule of Three: After working for Miranda twice, Emily has no desire to work for Miranda again, even with a higher pay raise and more personal control. She finally gets an excuse when she accidentally gets pregnant.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Emily is shocked to learn she's pregnant.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Subverted; as Miriam puts it, Emily is "a bitch". While she glosses over how she sold out Andy in the previous book, she is still no-nonsense and brash. This may apply more to Miranda, who is relatively kinder in this book than in the others.
  • Villain Respect: Miranda says she wants Emily to work for her again and treats her as an equal, not a lackey. Emily is very surprised by this.
  • Woman Scorned: The nail in the coffin for Graham's candidacy for president is when Karolina tells Regan, Graham's new wife, that Graham got a vasectomy without telling Karolina and lied to her about his sperm count. Cue Regan leaking the story about him hitting a child with his car while in high school, which leads to their divorce and Graham resigning from the Senate.