Jessica's Reviews > Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2007

Holiday Golightly. She’s quirky, comical, and glamorous. She’s fashionable, in-the-know, and in-the-now. She’s lonely, lost, and waiting to be rescued. You couldn’t resist her charm if you tried, and you can’t help but fall in love with her.

Well, at least in the Hollywood film version. Capote’s original novella paints a darker portrait of Miss Golightly. Unlike Audrey Hepburn’s adorable Holly, who needs a knight in slightly-rusted armor to save her, Capote’s girl is a “wild thing” who cannot be caged, trained, or rescued.

I can’t deny that the film is a classic and is one of my favorites. Audrey Hepburn may be the epitome of glamour and beauty, and Hollywood’s Holly can’t help but absorb Audrey’s charm. By the end of the film you find yourself rooting for “Fred” to save her from the nonsense of high society, reunite her with the cat, and wipe away her case of “the mean reds” forever. That is Hollywood, after all, and we would expect nothing less.

But the real Holly, Capote’s Holly, can never be caged by convention. It would be hard to imagine her ever settling down and being content with Fred (regardless of the fact that he is an implied homosexual in the book. Hollywood seemed to have “overlooked” that).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the book’s Holly is a Bad Person; she’s just more layered and real. Think about it – how many people have you come across who create a new persona for themselves, based on what they perceive others to desire? People who feign interest in the popular styles/entertainment/notable people of the day, just to seem like a Very Important Person and garner adoration, fame, and possibly fortune. I could name a few.

But we get to go deeper than Holly’s exterior and see the scared and lonely girl at the core. She is terrified of being a caged animal, but also tired of being alone. She wants to seem as though she’s making a holiday out of life, but struggles with the need for stability and the desire for freedom.

The book I read also included three of Capote’s most famous stories, and I’d be remiss not to mention them as well: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. The three short stories are amazingly intimate and touching, illuminating different sides of human emotion. I have not read Capote’s magnum opus, In Cold Blood, but after witnessing his detailed descriptions and haunting perceptions of human nature in these shorter forms, I have added his novel to my “to-read” list.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
May 29, 2007 – Shelved as: read-in-2007
May 29, 2007 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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Vanessa Could not have said it better myself.


Jessica Vanessa wrote: "Could not have said it better myself."

Thank you!


Lena Excellent review!I loved the story and the way Capote writes.And I think it was more believable than the film version.


Trisha I didn't really get the homosexual vibe - there was that mention of his having been in love with a guy, but he was in love with all sorts of people :P Anyway...I just read this and thought it was great! I've never seen the movie though.


Julie What a great review


Casey Thanks. Well stated. Have you read In Cold Blood yet? It is vastly different, although the wonderful ability of description is still there. In Cold Blood made me ill, if only from what the story is about.


Jeff Friederichsen Haven't seen the film lately, but your impression of the darker side seemed right to me.


Poppy your review captures my thoughts exactly, great job!


message 9: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Great review, but I have to ask—how was Paul an implied homosexual? I've read this book twice and never picked up on that. (I can be kind of dense at times though, LOL.)


Leslie Yeah, I didn't get that either but I was so mesmerized by his use of language & even description of Holly's apartment... I could read it again for details-sake & I never re-read stuff. It's a rare for me. I'm usually in to the next one. Anyway, my two cents & more...


JennEm ⚜️ This was probably one of the best reviews I have ever read for 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.'


message 12: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah Cooper Jessica, what an amazing review. You captured the book precisely, and how the movie is different. I recently watched the movie after rereading the book. I found it interesting how the screenwriter used so much from the book, even at the end, and yet completely changed the story.


message 13: by Dina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dina Batista So true! You said what a feelt reading it.


Amanda I believed him open to anything, pan or bisexual if one was to classify, but the more interesting aspect of Fred/Buster was that his identity wasnt important, it was more about grounding the story and allowing the understanding that Holly's point of view was fantastical and unrealistic while the narrator was quite literal in his phrasing and openly honest.


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