Thought Box

The Sisterhood of Suburbia

The Sisterhood of Suburbia

by Deepa Gahlot September 6 2018, 4:59 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 23 secs

There is a popular saying: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Laura Weisberger’s characters in her book When Life Gives You Lululemons are given that famous brand of stylish athleisure wear in their problem-filled lives and expected to make the best of it.

Weisberger's best-selling book, The Devil Wears Prada,  was turned into a memorable film, starring Meryl Streep as the haughty fashion magazine editor,  Miranda Priestly, allegedly inspired by Vogue's Anna Wintour.  

When Life Gives You Lululemons (BookClubChat)

The sequel to this novel, Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, was not in the same league, but the characters obviously did not let go of their hold on the author, because a third book When Life Gives You Lululemons is out and hitting bestseller charts. Emily Charlton from the earlier book returns along with two gal pals, and the action shifts to suburban Greenwich, amidst a gaggle of women who could give any normal female nightmares.

Former model Karolina, married to a senator, Graham Hartwell, finds herself in disgrace for being caught driving drunk. She has to give up on her beloved stepson, Harry, and hide out in Greenwich to avoid the horrible media attention. Her friend Miriam Kagan, once a high-powered lawyer, has dropped out of her career to become a fulltime homemaker. Emily finds her glamorous life as an image consultant to the rich and famous, under threat from a younger rival.  While her husband is working in Hong Kong, she joins the other two to help salvage Karolina's battered reputation so that she can get custody of Harry.

For this, she must appear to be contrite - even though she is innocent - and look normal. However, in Greenwich, normal means living in immaculate homes, producing kids only to be used as bargaining chips in the event of a divorce and being botoxed, nipped and tucked - including "bespoke lady parts" - so that their rich husbands don't trade them in for younger women. (Is this where the women's movement ended up?)

When Life Gives You Lululemons - book cover

Even though she is supposedly a she-devil, the book perks up in the couple of scenes in which Miranda Priestley makes an appearance and actually helps out Emily and Carolina in her own way, for which she extracts a pound of flesh, also in her own way. However, for all its humour, cattiness and power-to-the-sisterhood trope, this is a depressing book. The satire is blunt, the women are insecure, brittle, vapid; and even today, the only way to bring down a high-flying woman is to get her pregnant!  

When Life Gives You Lululemons

By Lauren Weisberger

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages:  343

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