January 18, 2015

Breakfast at Tiffany's | Book Review

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Truman Capote

This edition published in 2008, originally published 1958

Penguin, mass market pbk, p. 9-100
ISBN: 9780141037264

Holly Golightly - brashly beautiful with a slim black dress, a mysterious past and dark glasses over her varicoloured eyes - entrances all the men she meets, including the young writer living above her, though her recklessness may yet catch up with her.

I picked this small book up at a local charity shop for a dollar.  The idea was if it was boring, or I just didn't like it, then it was only a dollar and I could donate it somewhere.  It sat on my TBR shelves for a few months, until January 1st.  For some reason I picked it up on a whim.  Perhaps it was because the book seemed so small, but I just sat on my couch, took a deep breath, and started reading.
“Good luck and believe me, dearest Doc - it's better to look at the sky than live there.  Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.”
Capote didn't disappoint me.  I found this book to be oh so beautifully written.  The world was real, the characters were believable, and for all her faults I still found Holly to be sweet in some way.  In a nutshell, Holly is a good-time girl with a penchant for men over a certain age.  These men seem to visit her apartment in droves - sometimes staying overnight - at a time when that was still a big no no.  The social stigmas that would have been placed on any other woman of that era, that of being a loose woman, seems to have no impact on one Holly Golightly.  She shurggs off the slights, and with an almost calculated calm, keeps looking for the next guy, the next thrill, or hobby, or whatever, to tickle her fancy.  Once she's found it, Holly leaves without any concern over who she's left behind.

There are, obviously, a few more characters in this book, but from the narrators POV, it's all about Holly.  Some of the secondary characters show Holly in a more positive light, while others show her less endearing qualities - such as the party scene where her 'friend' goes to the bathroom and then can't understand why all the previously friendly men are now avoiding her like the plague ;-D

I was surprised to find that this wild and wilful woman, who although selfish, seems to be beloved by most everyone she meets, was in reality an 19 year old girl when the book starts.  I think this is because Capote was able to capture the essence of her, and her age became immaterial.  He packed so much of Holly's hopes and dreams into this one small story that I was amazed to find myself being swept away in the story, and a bit sad to find that it was over all so soon, as this book only takes an hour or so to get through.

While I could go on about the symbolism, indepth character reviews, etc., I will not bore, or spoil, you for such a great book.  Just trust me when I say that if you think you know it all - because you've watched Audrey Hepburn's movie - then think again because the story was changed in key plot points for filming.

After I put the book down I immediately had to review it on Good Reads and even now, a two weeks later, I stand by my initial thoughts.  The simplicity of the writing, which managed to convey all his thoughts and feelings, still has me wanting to read more.  To find out exactly what happened to Holly.  This is the mark of a truly great book. 

Do yourself a favour, and read Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Oh, and because the generic Penguin cover doesn't do this amazing book justice, I'm eyeing off a new edition. 

What do you think?

Until next time,

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