J’Adore New York – Book Review

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by Edith Cody-RIce

It’s time for the summer read: you know that book you take to the beach and to the cottage, not too taxing but perhaps fun to read. J’Adore New York falls perfectly into this category. Published by Harper Collins in 2010 as a trade paperback, it has been republished by Harper Weekend in 2011, again as a trade paperback.

The story will likely appeal to women more than men. A chic Parisian lawyer lands a job in the New York office of her prestigious law firm and struggles to meet the absurd expectations of partners, all the while longing for a life in fashion and glamour, a desire shared by her equally chic, funny, inventive and gay male secretary (now called assistant).

This is The Devil Wears Prada for lawyers, complete with bitchy female boss, ridiculous demands, romance, crime and more in-names and designer fashion than Vanity Fair and Vogue. If you are not a dedicated reader of The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Elegance, Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily, you are unlikely to get all of the references, but the book is a light romp through New York’s legal and fashion world.

 


There is however a serious side. Lawyer friends who work in large law firms tell me that the book is not far from the truth, as far as the legal tales go. Large law firms exist to bring in business and bill, bill, bill, exacting insane hours from associates who are crawling up the ladder to partnership so that they can bill even more.

Although I don’t think the writing is good enough for the book to win literary prizes any time soon (clichés abound), it is smart and very funny in places and although it seems daunting at 400 pages, it is really a page turner. Even better, the writer is Canadian.Isabelle Laflèche who was born and now lives in Montreal. She worked for over 10 years in Toronto, New York City and Montreal as a lawyer in a large law firm and on Wall Street. Her look into the law firm culture is therefore that of the insider. I can easily see a film script arising from this book and the movie should be fun too.