Weisberger writes with humor and authority, but her plot circles like a whirlpool—and by the time Andrea’s ready to face...

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA

A junior assistantship to the editor of the world’s top fashion magazine (“The job a million girls would die for”) provides endless fodder for a one-note but on-the-money kiss-and-tell debut.

Andy, or, as her boss from hell calls her: “Ahn-dre-ah,” harbors dreams of writing for The New Yorker, but her luck runs out—or runs high, depending on your priorities—when her first job interview lands her at Runway magazine, beholden to Miranda Priestly, “solely responsible for anticipating her needs and accommodating them.” Intelligent, sarcastic and without a smidgen of interest in fashion, Andrea quickly learns the Runway culture, from the necessity of being tall, emaciated, slavish, and half-naked in winter to the perks of town cars, shopping bags filled with designer duds, and the promise of any job after one year of servitude. A few weeks of dealing with the insensitive, sadistic and imperious Miranda leave our heroine on the verge of abdicating, but before long she’s joining her colleagues in “the classic Runway Paranoid Turnaround . . . scrambling to negate whatever blasphemy is uttered” about the divine Miranda.” Outside of work, Andrea has a perfectly nice socially conscious boyfriend from her college days at Brown, a best-friend-slash-roommate with a drinking problem who’s getting her doctorate at Columbia, a loving family in Connecticut, and no time for any of them as she races to retrieve Miranda’s French bulldog puppy from the vet, hire a nanny for her children, make 12 trips in stiletto heels to Starbucks for her coffee in between sorting her dirty dry cleaning. It’s only a 14-hour day! Ultimately, of course, everything explodes, and in the end, of course, righteousness prevails.

Weisberger writes with humor and authority, but her plot circles like a whirlpool—and by the time Andrea’s ready to face some hard choices, it’s difficult to care. Her exhaustion is contagious. (N.B: Weisberger, this season’s buzz of the town, was an assistant to Vogue editrix Anna Wintour—read: Miranda Priestly—giving this putative roman-à-clef an added splash of juice.)

Pub Date: April 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50926-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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