I had a bit of a rough week last week and I impulsively bought a stack of magazines and a new paperback from the supermarket. The best option I found was Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger.
Weisberger also wrote The Devil Wears Prada, based on Vogue and Anna Wintour. I never read that book but I loved the movie with Merryl Streep.
(Also, if you want to learn more about the mystique and power of Anna Wintour, watch The September Issue, a documentary about the massive annual edition of Vogue. It’s a fantastic movie and Grace Coddington steals the show.)
The book is straight up chick lit. Three friends are nearing 30 and have established the lives they want – except, of course, for their love lives. They make a pact to make a change to shake things up: one who recently left a long-term relationship will being willing to have sex with a guy without being in a relationship while another – the serial dater – will focus on finding a husband. (The third girl is unwilling to join in the pact.)
Antics ensue. And by the end, (spoiler alert, although I don’t know if anyone will be upset by this) no one has changed all that much but they seem to have what they want. Despite sleeping around, Emmy lands a guy that you just know will last forever. Adriana has a serious relationship that could end in marriage but she decides she isn’t ready yet. And Leigh, the one who wouldn’t make a promise, has an affair with a married colleague but that all works out as well.
I know I read this book for the happy ending. (Hee-hee.) But I was left mildly dissatisfied with the book. I understand the role of chick lit (even if Mr. Kundera wouldn’t) and have enjoyed it in the past, but this one didn’t do it’s job well enough.
I’m not sure if it’s me or the novel. Maybe I’ve become more analytical of how novels are written since I have begun writing seriously, so I’m critical in a new way. Or maybe Weisberger just didn’t make the grade: the characters and plots were too predictable even when a predictable story is expected.
And as a side note, I do get annoyed by name-dropping in chick lit by way of brand names. I get it – these ladies work hard (sort of) and have a lot of money and they can buy Louis Vuitton, et al. The names take me out of the story as I am reading because I can’t always immediately picture the product. I don’t know all the fancy purses to see it. I understand that the use of the brand name is to indicate luxury and cost but by using more descriptive labels, my imagination tries to envision the item.
So it was an meh read. I’ve read better chick lit.