A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses. Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful... read more
The novel begins with its main character, Andrea Sachs, stuck in midtown Manhattan traffic, trying to remember how to use a manual transmission. She is driving a Porsche roadster that belongs to her boss, Runway magazine editor Miranda Priestly. Sachs must deliver the roadster from the repair... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The novel begins with its main character, Andrea Sachs, stuck in midtown Manhattan traffic, trying to remember how to use a manual transmission. She is driving a Porsche roadster that belongs to her boss, Runway magazine editor Miranda Priestly. Sachs must deliver the roadster from the repair shop to Miranda's apartment in time for Miranda's family to go to the Hamptons for the weekend. While she is attempting to do this, Miranda calls Sachs on her cell phone and excoriates Sachs for not doing her job properly. Miranda also tells Sachs to pick up her pet French bulldog from the veterinarian's office. Trying to comply, Andrea ruins some of the expensive designer clothing she is wearing. She wishes Miranda would die. But if that did happen, she reminds herself, she'd lose the pleasure of killing Miranda with her own hands.
Sachs had recently graduated Brown with a degree in English when she left her home in Avon, Connecticut for New York City. There she moved in with her longtime friend Lily, now doing graduate studies in Russian at Columbia. Sachs, a longtime reader of The New Yorker, blankets the magazine publishing industry with her résumé, hoping to land enough experience somewhere to eventually get her a job at the prestigious weekly. She gets a surprise interview at the Elias-Clark group and is hired on as Miranda's junior assistant. While she knows little of Miranda, she is told repeatedly that "a million girls would die for your job".
People at the magazine are afraid of finding themselves alone in an elevator with Miranda, or making critical remarks about her even to their close friends. Andrea dubs this attitude the Runway Paranoid Turnaround, as whenever one of her co-workers makes the slightest negative comment about Miranda, they immediately follow it up with a "turnaround" positive comment, due to their fear of their boss finding out about their attitude and firing them.
All the same, Andrea is told that if she manages to stick it out working for Miranda for a year, she can have her select pick of jobs within the magazine industry, so she valiantly struggles onward. Even in the present, the perks are generous — between Runway's notorious "closet" of designer clothes ostensibly "on loan" for photo shoots but rarely returned and often "borrowed" by the staff and the general obsequiousness she encounters as Miranda Priestly's personal assistant, she is able to acquire enough free designer clothing to fit in better with the rest of the fashionable Runway staff. Eventually, she develops an appreciation for it and stops incurring Miranda's displeasure. She gets a Bang and Olufsen phone for free when Miranda does not want it, and learns that Elias-Clark's policies regarding expense accounts are rather lax, to the benefit of herself and her friends.
She also goes to parties with celebrities. At one of them she meets Christian Collinsworth, a Yale graduate who has been identified as the hot (in more ways than one), up-and-coming writer of their generation. They become attracted to each other, complicating her relationship with Alex.
Sachs's job begins to affect her health; she starts to lose weight because she can't bring herself to eat. After years of being tall and fairly thin, Sachs finds herself the fat, lumpy dwarf of "Runway"'s office. Eventually, Sachs begins to rationalize her not eating by thinking thoughts like "Missing one meal won't hurt, and anyway, $2000 pants don't look so hot on a fat girl." She realizes that she has begun to adopt the Runway attitude for her own.
While working for Miranda, she receives a letter from a teenager, telling Miranda that she loves her magazine and spends all her money on trying to look like the models, but still hates herself because "my butt is huge" and "I'm too fat". The teenager begs Miranda to send her a dress to wear to her prom, but ends by telling her that, even if she throws the letter in the trash can, she'll still love her. Andrea begins to doubt the true value of her job, as it is primarily encouraging the woman who makes teenagers all over America hate themselves as much as this one. However, she keeps going, thinking that it will all be worthwhile when she gets a job at The New Yorker.
The 14-hour days she puts in almost routinely leave her little free time to spend with Alex and Lily. Lily increasingly turns to alcohol and picking up dubious men to relieve the pressures of graduate school. Sachs's relationship with her family also suffers. Her parents complain that she doesn't visit her older sister, who is expecting her first child. Sachs stays absorbed in her own world as Lily's problems spiral out of control. Matters finally come to a head when Emily gets mononucleosis and Andrea must travel to Paris with Miranda. Andrea agrees, although this will mean canceling her trip for Alex's homecoming weekend.
In Paris, she has a surprise encounter with Christian. Later that night, Miranda finally lets down her guard a little bit and asks Andrea what she's learned, and where she'd like to work afterwards. She promises to place phone calls to people she knows at The New Yorker on Andrea's behalf once her year is up, and tells her she can actually do some small written pieces for Runway.
But back at the hotel, Andrea gets urgent calls from Alex and her parents asking her to call them. She does so and learns that Lily is comatose in the hospital after driving drunk and wrecking a car.
Though Andrea is receiving pressure from her family and Alex to return home, she tells Miranda she will honor the commitment. Miranda is greatly pleased, and tells her that her future in magazine publishing is looking bright. At the Paris fashion show for Christian Dior, however, a livid Miranda phones her with yet another impossible demand. After she hangs up, Andrea stares at her phone, trying to think how to accommodate Miranda. Then, Andrea finally realizes that her family and friends are more important than her job, and realizes that she is becoming more and more like Miranda. On the spot, Andrea flips out her cell phone and tells her family that she's coming home. Miranda disapproves, but Andrea tells Miranda publicly "Fuck you, Miranda. Fuck you". She is fired on the spot, but returns home to reconnect with her friends and family. Her romantic relationship with Alex is beyond repair, but they remain friends. Lily recovers and fares well in court for her DUI charge, receiving only community service.
In the last chapter the reader learns that the fallout from her standup to Miranda made her a minor celebrity when the incident made 'Page Six'. Afraid she had been blacklisted for good from publishing, she stays in Connecticut for a while and works on short fiction. Seventeen buys one of her stories, and Andrea begins a friendly and professional relationship with Loretta, one of the editors of the teen magazine, who also happened to work for Runway prior to her tenure there. She returns to New York and gives herself a comfortable financial cushion by selling all the designer clothing she took to Paris with her to consignment shops. She saves a pair of Dolce and Gabbana denim jeans for herself, gave a quilted Prada purse to her mother, and a Diane von Fürstenberg wrap dress to the teenager who wrote to Miranda.
At the novel's end, she is returning to the building to discuss a position at company's magazines. She sees a girl whom she realizes is in fact, Miranda's new junior assistant, who is loaded with Miranda's coffee, shopping bags, newspapers, and her beaded clutch, and she remembers that that used to be her. The doorman tips Andrea a wink.
“Details of your incompetence do not interest me.”Miranda Priestly
“That's all.”Miranda Priestly
“Yes the hours are long and the work is tough but it's incredibly glamorous and a million girls would die to do it.”Allison
“Do you read Runway, Ahn-dre-ah?”Miranda Priestly
“I was working for a company who defined 'organization' as knowing which floor each employee visited, whether they preferred onion soup or Caesar salad for lunch, and just how many minutes they could tolerate the elliptical machine? I was a lucky, lucky girl.”Andrea
Because if she does, you lose all hope of killing her yourself. And that would be a shame.Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
For most people, the ringing of a phone was a welcome sign. Someone was trying to reach them, to say hello, ask about their well-being, or make plans. For me, it triggered fear, intense anxiety, and heart-stopping panic.Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. —HENRY DAVID THOREAU, WALDEN, 1854Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
The women, or rather the girls, were individually beautiful. Collectively, they were mind-blowing. Most appeared to be about twenty-five, and few looked a day older than thirty.Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
Michael Kors, Gucci, Prada, Versace, Fendi, Armani, Chanel, Barney’s, Chloé, Calvin Klein, Bergdorf, Roberto Cavalli, and SaksHighlighted by 6 Kindle customers
Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Giselle Bundchen, Hillary Clinton, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Annie Leibovitz, Nicole Miller, Adrienne Vittadini, Michael Kors, Helmut Lang, Giorgio Armani, John Sahag, Bruno Magli, Mario Testino, and Narcisco Rodriguez,Highlighted by 6 Kindle customers
Was I happy working for his wife? Hmm, let’s see here. Are little baby mammals squealing with glee when a predator swallows them whole?Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
She loved anyone and anything that didn’t love her back, so long as it made her feel alive.Highlighted by 5 Kindle customers
We would be FedExing about 150 bottles all over the world. The Priestly bottles would make it to Paris, Cannes, Bordeaux, Milan, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Geneva, Brugges, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and London. Dozens to London! FedEx would jet them to Beijing and Hong Kong and Capetown and Tel Aviv and Dubai (Dubai!).Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
“Enough. The details of your incompetence interest me very little.Highlighted by 4 Kindle customers
Followed by Revenge Wears Prada.
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