Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's

My family was late to join the cable TV movement when I was growing up.  I honestly don't recall exactly when my dad finally caved but I think it was sometime in the early 90s. It was thrilling to go from two channels, 7 and 9, to almost forty!

My mom instantly fell in love with the AMC and TCM channels; she loved old movies.  We would spend our weekends watching the classics: Gone with the Wind, Madame Curie, An Affair to Remember, Anna Karenina, The Philadelphia Story and so many more. Mom loved anything with Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart. I admired the style and grace of Greta Garbo, Greer Garson and Lana Turner and those vastly different Hepburn girls.

One of my favorite old movies is Breakfast at Tiffany's.  I loved the opening scene where Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) stands eating a danish in front of the famed jewelry store.  This was the movie that made me fall in love with old New York.  Those streets, those old taxis, the way they dressed in the 1950s and early 1960s.  I wanted so badly to grow up and live in Holly's brownstone and enjoy the night life in the city that never sleeps.  As an almost thirteen-year-old girl it seemed like the coolest thing I could aspire to.

I don't watch much cable television anymore. I have a few favorite shows that I collect on the DVR for later viewing but when I have a time to watch movies I usually fire up the Roku (best invention ever) and search for the classics.  I found Breakfast at Tiffany's on Netflix and sat down to watch it.  At just that moment my mom had called me (what a coincidence) and I mentioned what I was watching.
"Did you ever read Capote's book?" Mom asked.
"No, I don't think I ever did," I replied.
"I think it's time," she said. "I think you'll like it."
A few days later I went to the library and checked it out:  Breakfast at Tiffany's, A short novel and three stories by Truman Capote. 

The book is fairly different than the movie adaptation.  The movie maintained most of the story line but changed quite a bit. The narrator of the book is the character Paul Varjak in the movie, and Mrs. "2E," Paul's decorator friend and benefactor,  does not exist in the novel. Miss Holiday Golightly, known by cafe society as Holly, is witty and naive, a country girl turned New York socialite.  Holly is quirky, witty, charming and glamorous.  She's also lost and lonely, her only family is her brother Fred, and we later meet her estranged husband Doc Golightly.  It seems throughout the book that Holly is looking to belong somewhere and perhaps to someone.

I can't help but love Holly Golightly, and yet I'm sad for her.  Sad that her life seems empty and materialistic, yet she seemed to live a minimalist lifestyle giving her the freedom to have enchanting encounters with other old souls in New York.

Reading this book, knowing it was originally published in 1951, had me curious about Holly's work.  She was almost portrayed as a prostitute.  And the way she speaks her mind, the language used, it seemed too obscene for the 1950s. Still, I really enjoyed the book and it's evocative writing. I could picture Audrey Hepburn clearly as I read it.

The other short stories are okay when compared to the title story.  Definitely worth reading if you haven't already!


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