Lauren Weisberger, a former Wintour assistant who left Vogue for Departures along with Richard Story, wrote The Devil Wears Prada after a writing workshop he suggested she take. It was eagerly anticipated for its supposed insider portrait of Wintour prior to its publication. Wintour told The New York Times, "I always enjoy a great piece of fiction. I haven't decided whether I am going to read it or not." While it has been suggested that the setting and Miranda Priestly were based on Vogue and Wintour, Weisberger claims she drew not only from her own experiences but those of her friends as well. Wintour herself makes a cameo appearance near the end of the book, where it is said she and Miranda dislike each other.
In the novel, Miranda has many similarities to Wintour—among them, she is British, has two children, and is described as a major contributor to the Met. Priestly is a tyrant who makes impossible demands of her subordinates, gives them almost none of the information or time necessary to comply and then berates them for their failures to do so.
Betts, who had been fired by Harper's after two years during which staffers said she tried too hard to emulate Wintour, reviewed it harshly in the New York Times Book Review:Having worked at Vogue myself for eight years and having been mentored by Anna Wintour, I have to say Weisberger could have learned a few things in the year she sold her soul to the devil of fashion for $32,500. She had a ringside seat at one of the great editorial franchises in a business that exerts an enormous influence over women, but she seems to have understood almost nothing about the isolation and pressure of the job her boss was doing, or what it might cost a person like Miranda Priestly to become a character like Miranda Priestly.
Priestly has some positive qualities. Andrea notes that she makes all the magazine's key editorial decisions by herself and that she has genuine class and style. " I never for one second didn't know it was an amazing opportunity to assist Anna", Weisberger said in 2008.
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