I’ve only read one book by Laura Weisberger (Chasing Henry Winston) and watched a movie based on her novel (The Devil Wears Prada) but I’ve enjoyed both so much that I pounced on this book when I saw it on the library shelf. I expected it to be a good read, like watching a good movie.
Bette works in banking, a ‘boring’ job for 5 years (since the big companies showed up at campus waving giant salaries and signing bonuses) which vanished into a black hole of training programs and quarterly reports and year-end bonuses. She is good at it and too complacent to make the leap into something else until one day when she decides to quit her job without any idea what to do next.
Bette joins a PR firm and gets paid to party and meet ‘everyone worth knowing’ in a job that’s a million miles away from her old job. However, very soon, she turns up in the gossip columns and grows apart from her friends and misses living in a real world until she resigns almost at the end of the book.
What stand out in the 385-page novel are how Bette’s uncle consoles her when she is depressed over her single status as her best friend Penelope gets engaged (“Marriage is for the bourgeoisie. Why on earth are you eager to enter into a lifelong relationship, the only purpose of which is to strangle every iota of individuality out of you?”); her comment that “who needed a man when you have a dog?” and the realisation that “Anything worth having was worth working for”.
I can imagine this story being written into a screenplay and the movie containing lovely music, including Mike and the Mechanics’ The Living Years (mentioned in the book).