Skip to main content

When Life Gives You Lululemons

Review

When Life Gives You Lululemons

Fifteen years after THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA made literary headlines, Lauren Weisberger returns with a hilarious, witty and delightful novel, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LULULEMONS. Although Miranda Priestly makes a brief appearance, the stage belongs to Emily Charlton, her former assistant, who is now a successful image consultant.

In the movie The Devil Wears Prada, Emily was the mean, anti-carbohydrate assistant played flawlessly by Emily Blunt as she robotically obeyed the commands of Miranda, a role made iconic by Meryl Streep. Now Emily’s job at Runway magazine is passé, and she has upgraded to a more confident and sarcastic version of her former self. She is still not likable.

Emily is dissatisfied in her new career catering to a new generation of rising stars in the entertainment industry. The book opens with Emily at Gigi Hadid’s childhood mansion in Los Angeles at a New Year’s Eve pool party, which is “one of the most annoying nights of the year in arguably the most annoying city known to humanity,” watching her husband Miles’ “beautiful body” end up in an infinity pool with a topless girl on his shoulder. Emily answers a call about a publicity crisis for a famous rapper, Rizzo, who is apparently the new Bieber. She eagerly jumps on a plane to return to “New York, her first and truest love,” only to find herself beaten by another celebrity crisis fixer, Olivia Bell, who subsequently snatches two more of Emily’s A-list clients.

"...a hilarious, witty and delightful novel... At the heart of this addictive page-turner is the sisterhood among the women.... This is your summer read of 2018."

Dejected, Emily goes to stay with her old friend, Miriam Kagan, a married mother of two, in Greenwich, the picture-perfect suburb with upscale homes and enviably green manicured lawns. Through Emily’s sharp, witty eyes, we judge the lifestyle of the well-toned mommies of Greenwich. They are everywhere, dressed in Lilly Pulitzers or lululemons, gossiping, drinking and revealing information about their rebuilt custom ladies’ parts (butts, breasts, stomachs, vaginas). The men talk about their newly acquired boats or yachts.

All the events are over the top. There’s a red-carpet birthday party with makeup artists and paparazzi for the kindergarteners. A “sip ‘n’ see party” allows mommies to sip wine and meet a newborn, who is so cool that he/she doesn’t even show up, leaving them to lavish extravagant comments to a ridiculously expensive cashmere blanket. And a couple’s party, held in a massive tent with string lights, jewel-toned lamps, woven floor cushions and elaborate glass hookahs with a kidney-shaped pool and colored red water, resembles an event in Marrakech.

Mostly, though, the languid, lazy days in town are filled with mommies in lululemons running errands or doing double or triple Soul classes, CrossFit, Orange Theory, beach boot camp or yoga. For the uninitiated, lululemons are cropped leggings and tanks with built-in bras and are a high-quality, expensive brand of athletic wear. But when life gives you lemons, lululemons or whatever, you have to do your best. Emily already has had a few setbacks --- she has lost some clients, and the young Olivia Bell, with her grasp of social media, is grabbing all the celebrities.

So Emily teams up with Olivia to help another Greenwich housewife, former supermodel Karolina Hartwell, who has been wrongfully charged with a DUI. Karolina is the wife of a charismatic, ambitious senator, Graham Hartwell, who has his sights set on the presidency. Emily works on Karolina’s image and switches her from an “eight-thousand-dollar Hermes Kelly to a much more accessible Michael Kors tote” to make her relatable to the common housewives. She implies to the press that Karolina is going to rehab, and the three ladies disappear to a luxury hotel in a BMW convertible in the desert. The road trip is a mandatory part of the bonding experience.  

It is perfectly clear to the readers and to cynical Emily that the power-hungry senator has seen a clear path to the White House, even if it means dumping Karolina and separating her from her stepson Harry. Karolina’s love for Harry is the one pure thing in this grown-up world of power struggles and dirty games. So Graham plans Karolina’s downfall, and as she gets caught up in a very public and humiliating mess, he runs into the waiting arms of gorgeous Regan Whitney, who also happens to be a former president’s daughter. He is completely unprepared for the destruction that Emily, Olivia and Karolina inflict upon him.

At the heart of this addictive page-turner is the sisterhood among the women. As previously mentioned, even Miranda Priestly makes a cameo with her signature trademark sign-off “That’s all.” And hidden underneath the flamboyance, wealth and glamour lie the important existentialist questions of what it means to be a woman, a mother and a professional, and how to balance motherhood and a career. But it is done in a satirical and entertaining way, making it the perfect book to read by the pool or at the beach with a cocktail. This is your summer read of 2018.

Reviewed by Sonia Chopra on June 8, 2018

When Life Gives You Lululemons
by Lauren Weisberger

  • Publication Date: June 5, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1476778442
  • ISBN-13: 9781476778440