Sarah's Reviews > Chasing Harry Winston

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger
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's review
Jan 07, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: craptastic
Recommended for: Idiots
Read in June, 2008

So far this book is like a martini topped with mini marshmallows.

Update: I'm past the halfway point and the book is now a martini topped with marshmallows poured over a steaming pile of dog excrement.

Update the second: I retract my earlier statement, as it is demeaning to the martini. Martinis are fabulous and should never be associated with dreck like this. It is, however, like marshmallow-dotted dog poopie, as it is cloyingly sweet, fluffy, and a real stinkeroo.

Update the third: WARNING. I am not going to mark this review as spoilerific, because I'm assuming that after the above comments no one wants to read the book anyway. And if you do still plan to read this, well then, you're an idiot and deserve to be spoiled.

Adriana, Leigh, and Emmy are best friends in New York who are about to turn thirty. Adriana is the wealthy daughter of a former supermodel (even though the term "supermodel" wasn't really coined until the nineties), has no job, lives in her parents' NY penthouse apartment, and sleeps with any man who looks at her. Not because she's insecure, mind you. She's just that beautiful. Leigh is a book editor with the perfect apartment and sportscaster boyfriend but she's suffering from panic attacks and some kind of strange OCD-like symptoms. Emmy is a serial monogamist who has just broken up with her boyfriend of 5 years.

The girls decide to shake things up. Adriana pledges to settle down within a year, Emmy wants to whore it up all across the globe, and Leigh wants to do something (she just doesn't know what).

The novel alternates between characters. Adriana whines about no one taking her seriously, Leigh whines about her job and her boyfriend, and Emmy whines both about wanting to have random sex and not thinking she can go through with having random sex.

The biggest problem I have with this book, beyond the basic boring insipdness of the plot, is that Weisberger doesn't seem to know her characters. They are not only underdeveloped but they constantly contradict themselves. Adriana is oh-so-cool that men want her and women want to be her, yet she very uncooly gushes over Salma Hayek, "Brangelina," and, inexplicably for someone who doesn't want children, Angelina's son Maddox.

Leigh isn't in love with her boyfriend (who later becomes her fiance) but Weisberger makes a point of telling us that while she doesn't want to have sex with him, she isn't repulsed by his touch, either. The significance of this revelation is never explained. When she later and very predictably has sex with one of the married authors she's editing, she feels exhilarated in one sentence and in the next, with no explanation for the mood change, is angry/shamed/insecure. She is so upset that the author is married, yet when it is revealed that he only married his wife so she could get her green card, she no longer cares that he has no plans to get a divorce.

Emmy insists all over the place that she's ready to give up her monogamous ways and slut it up with at least one man from each continent (she travels for work) but this isn't really what she wants to do, nor is she very good at it. Later, one of the girls comments that Emmy has slept with every strange man she'd met over the past year, when in reality she only slept with three. She's also so unaware of herself that she can't figure out why she scares off a would-be one night stand by asking him if he wants children.

It would have been much more interesting if Weisberger had given a reason for these inconsistencies, such as the characters having an internal struggle over doing what they want to do and doing what everyone expects of them. I suspect this was Weisberger's intention but she never really made it clear which version was the facade and which was the real girl, especially in Adriana's case.

It also wasn't very believable that these girls were best friends. When Leigh calls Emmy to tell her of her engagement, she tells Emmy flat out that she doesn't think she's in love with her fiance but all Emmy wants to talk about is the proposal and the ring. A real best friend would have jumped all over it and told her friend that she shouldn't marry a man she doesn't love. It also isn't believable that Emmy and Adriana wouldn't confide their problems to each other.

There are also huge holes in the action. The three girls go on vacation to Aruba, ostensibly to give Emmy the opportunity to sleep with someone, but the narrative ends just as she meets someone and jumps ahead several days, and the result of their Aruba trip is only mentioned in passing several pages later. The lengthy description of their flight to the island is utterly pointless.

The ending is so contrived and predictable that one can only assume Weisberger was up against the deadline, couldn't figure out how to end it, and just wrapped everything up without any creativity whatsoever.

I'm pretty pissed off that I paid for this book, and that I've contributed to its sales as it will surely be a best seller. I can only hope that people will begin to see that The Devil Wears Prada was an anomaly, and that Weisberger can't write interesting fiction.
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Reading Progress

03/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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message 1: by Meghan (new) - added it

Meghan Ugh. That sounds disgusting...but better than her last book.

Sarah Actually so far it isn't very good. About as good as a martini topped with marshmallows would be. Cookie-cutter characters in cookie-cutter situations and I could not care less how rich and beautiful and stylish they all are. Is it possible I'm growing out of chick lit? I think the magic of The Devil Wears Prada was in the character of Miranda, who was based on a real person. Maybe Weisberger can't imagine characters as well as she can exaggerate them?

message 3: by Meghan (new) - added it

Meghan Hmmmm, maybe it is a sign of your newfound maturity that only can be gained in your advancing years? But I'm going to hazard a guess and say that it's more Weisberger's writing (or lack thereof) that's the answer.

message 4: by Sarah (last edited Jun 22, 2008 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Last night I got so mad at how stupid it was that I almost threw it out the window. Why I feel compelled to finish it, I have no idea. I guess because I spent like $15 on it.

message 5: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Maybe Weisberger can't imagine characters as well as she can exaggerate them?

That's a great line, Sarah. Too bad you can't copyright it anymore!

But you should frame it and hang it on your shelves :)

message 6: by Alison (last edited Jun 22, 2008 05:43PM) (new)

Alison Sounds like a hot mess (literally--steaming excrement??)! Don't finish it, is too short! :)

message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Nice, Sarah.

Sarah Yes, Ginnie, and may we please talk about the jewelry?

The strange thing about the title and cover art is that one would assume that the trio of heroines are looking for husbands, chasing Harry Winston engagement rings. However none of these girls actually want to get married.

It boggles the mind.

message 9: by Alison (new)

Alison So, I just read the synopsis, and I MUST do these three geniuses decide to change their lives in the "most personal and dramatic way possible"? Sex changes?

message 10: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Well, I have about sixty pages left, and none have made a big change so far. I'll let you know. My final review will leave no questions unanswered.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Update: I'm past the halfway point and the book is now a martini topped with marshmallows poured over a steaming pile of dog excrement.

I salute you, my dear.

message 12: by Sarah (last edited Jun 23, 2008 02:01PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah David, by "salute" do you really mean "spoon"?

Wow. Just when I thought the book couldn't get any worse, Weisberger has used the term "ladyparts."

message 13: by Sara (new)

Sara I read the first chapter of this book and wasn't that impressed, so I told myself I would check out the reviews on this site and continue or not based on that. After reading your (and others' ) review, I'm not going to continue with it. Thank you for saving those precious hours of my life!

message 14: by Toni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Toni Osborne I haven't posted a review yet but in a nutshell, I found the whole of it to be hilarious and in no way to be taken seriously.

♥Xeni♥ I am so glad I'm not the only one who thought this book was horrible! I absolutely loved your review, Sarah! You definitely summed it up super well!

Thankfully, I never paid money for this book. I read about maybe half of it in the book store then gave it up as a hopeless cause and hid the copy in another section so no one else would be forced to buy it either!

On another note, I felt that The Devil Wears Prada was also horrendously written (first and foremost, no plot, something the movie actually fixed!) No more Weisberger!

message 16: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva at least i got it on sale... i didnt get why the writer even mentions that he is married in the first place, if he's only doing it for the green card and sleeps around anyway...

message 17: by Eva (new) - added it

Eva at least i read it in hebrew so it advanced my level of reading there...

Rachael C. I saw your review but decided to read it anyway... And I certainly regret it. If only I had heeded your warnings!!

message 19: by JoJo (new) - rated it 1 star

JoJo I hated this book! I gave it 1 star too!! I had forgotten about it, but I was browsing books and reviews I posted on here, and I laughed so hard at what I said about her. I know the trauma of reading it was probably the reason I blacked out on it, but I was taken down a trip on memory lane from when I worked at Borders: The author came for a book signing, but I found her work such crap, I didn't even want to meet her! :)

Yes, its garbage. I enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada MOVIE, but never read the book because after this trash, I wasn't going to waste my time. I'm sure the screenplay was much better, but I'm thinking the only reason they made a movie about a crappy book was because she was a whistle blower.

While I admit I never read Prada, I can tell from Winston that she has absolutely no talent when it comes to writing or imagination. The only way I could imagine Prada being good would be if she recounted her experience to a professional ghost writer. She probably thought, hey! this is easy! Let me try one by myself! And then regurgitated sex and the city, but changed it a bit by adding token fat girl.

I'm curious now and will check to see if she's spewed more brain poison since this publication, but she should really put the pen down and stick to what she knows: fashion and grilled jarlsburg cheese sandwiches!

*I leave my soap box now* :)

message 20: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate I got this book on a sale and planning to read it soon. Kinda not into it anymore the moment I saw your review.

message 21: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Aley You saved me a few hours of my life. Thank you!

message 22: by Katie (new)

Katie McAteer Let’s not use the words slut and whore anymore.

message 23: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah ...this was 9 years ago...

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