Brina's Reviews > Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
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it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, short-stories

Fred, our story's narrator, has been called by Joe Bell the proprietor of Hamburg Heaven because he has heard about Holly. So begins Truman Capote's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's, the tale of New York society girl Holly Golightly. As soon as Fred hears about Holly, the story flashes back to 1943 and we begin our story of Holly.

Growing up I knew Aubrey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle and Tiffany's as a diamond store, so I envisioned Breakfast at Tiffany's to be a tale of the upper crust of New York society dining at the Plaza Hotel. How wrong was in these thoughts. Our protagonists live in a brownstone apartment, not the Plaza. "Fred" named in honor of Holly's brother is a festering writer who seems to be Capote himself and his upstairs neighbor is a mysterious girl named Holly Golightly who adds traveling to her business cards. Until the two have any interactions, Holly remains an enigma, adding to her mystique.

Throughout the book, Holly still remains an enigma even after she and "Fred" build on their friendly, platonic relationship. Who is Holly? Is she a Hollywood starlet or Arkansas hillbilly? A New York society girl or prostitute or a member of the mafia? Because the novella is only 100 pages in length, Capote tackles all of these ideas while really building up Holly's character. Even though I prefer epic novels, I also enjoy a shorter story that flushes out a character's personality and has me captivated from the first pages. Capote's novella does this and then some, allowing me to quickly read to the conclusion.

Tiffany's does make an appearance in the novella although not the way I had thought it would. Holly in spite of all the glitz in her life, wants to be remembered the same when she has the money to eat breakfast at Tiffany's. Does this mean she will be down to earth or a multi-layered character? Will she keep the same company or dine with movie stars? Capote hints that Holly would prefer the former but never tells us, allowing for the reader to draw their own conclusions. Again, this device enabled me to read the novella in one sitting so I could find out whether or not Holly ever ate breakfast at Tiffany's.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the three other stories included in this novella. All of them bring out Capote's prose and show us why he is highly regarded as a classic American writer. The collection ends on a high note with A Christmas Memory, allowing is some insight into Capote's family life growing up. I look forward to seeing Breakfast at Tiffany's on screen to compare the movie to the book and also reading his masterpiece In Cold Blood. A 5-star classic.
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Reading Progress

July 7, 2016 – Shelved
July 7, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
July 7, 2016 – Shelved as: classics
July 7, 2016 – Shelved as: short-stories
August 3, 2016 – Started Reading
August 3, 2016 –
page 44
27.16%
August 4, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

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Matthew Great review! I was surprised at how the book Holly was, too!


Brina Thanks Matthew. I've never seen the movie but the title always produced that imagery for me. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


message 3: by Dana (new)

Dana I can't believe I still haven't read this book! I need to throw in a classic each month. Thanks for the stellar review!


Matthew Brina wrote: "Thanks Matthew. I've never seen the movie but the title always produced that imagery for me. I'm looking forward to seeing it."

When I first read it, I hadn't seen it either - so I expected the jewel clad Hepburn from the poster . . . boy was I wrong!


message 5: by Cheri (new) - added it

Cheri Terrific review, Brina! I have never read this book, either... never thought too much about it, I suppose I've always associated that title more with the movie than the book. Adding.


Brina Cheri and Dana, I have been attempting to add at least one classic a month and this one is only 100 pages so it's easy reading. Matthew other than glimpsing at reviews here, I pretty much expected a glitzy Aubrey Hepburn too. Surprise. Time to see the film.


message 7: by SherryRose (new)

SherryRose He was very good. I actually liked the movie better but I can't say why because of spoilers. Audrey Hephern and George Peppard were very good in the movie.


Brina Can't wait to discuss the movie. Might have to wait until kids go back to school though.


message 9: by Janie (new) - added it

Janie Watts Thanks for your insightful review. I read that the Holly Golightly character was first named Connie Gustafson but changed in the editing, thankfully.


Brina Janie, Holly Golightly is much more provocative so I'm glad the editors changed it.


message 11: by Betsy (new) - added it

Betsy Robinson I'm ashamed to admit I've never read Capote. Thanks for a lovely review, Brina. Maybe I'll read this one.


Ellie Great review, Brina. I loved the book. I recently saw the movie again and didn't find it nearly as good as I remembered it. I reread the book and found it so much better (although I Audrey Hepburn was lovely as Holly ).


Brina Thank you Betsy and Ellie. I am glad that I discovered Capote's writing. He was a gifted writer and a master storyteller. I am just as excited to see Audrey as Holly although in my heart (see my review of Pygmalion) she will always be Eliza.


message 14: by Karen (new) - added it

Karen Thank you Brina for your insightful review. I am going to read it. I saw the movie ages ago. I read In Cold Blood. I hope you like it!


Brina Thank you Karen. I have a list of movies from books to watch when the kids go back to school. Looking forward to the movie and will have to find time to read In Cold Blood as well.


message 16: by M (new) - rated it 5 stars

M why do you think joe Bell's bar is Hamburg heaven?


Holly During my time in NYC I just had to get a croissant and eat it while gazing into the show windows in front of Tiffany & Co......and I was disappointed in how understated it was. After a few months of walking around the city I discovered that Harry Winston was the place to go for bling........with a cheese danish.


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