Margitte's Reviews > Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
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Well, what can one say about Holly Golightly. She was beautiful, she was mean, she was independent, sometimes cruel, sometimes caring. Holly was as free as a bird, but shackled by her birth. She was temptress and torturer. She was glue and glamorous. Holly was light and darkness. She conquered and crashed. She loved and loathed.
Holly:"... good things only happen to you if you're good. Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest -- I'd rob a grave, I'd steal two-bits off a dead man's eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day's enjoyment -- but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. Which isn't being pious. Just practical. Cancer may cool you, but the other's sure to. Oh, screw it, cookie -- hand me my guitar, and I'll sing you a fada in the most perfect Portuguese."
Her story is narrated by her upstairs neighbor, an aspiring writer, who befriended her, despite a downstairs neighbor, Madame Sapphia Spanella's outspoken wrath against Holly: "A crude exhibitionist, a time waster, an utter fake, somebody never to be spoken to again". But Holly was also 'pampered, calmly immaculate, as though she'd been attended by Cleopatra's maids'.

Nineteen year old Holly was from Tulip, Texas, before she landed up in New York. Since the age of fourteen she was on her own, taking care of her brother Fred, who was in the army. He loved peanut butter, which she bought for him anywhere she could find it during the war times.
"Fred's a soldier," said Holly. "But I doubt if he'll ever be a statue. Could be. They say the more stupid you are the braver. He's pretty stupid."

"Fred's that boy upstairs? I didn't realize he was a soldier. But he does look stupid."

"Yearning. Not stupid. He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out: anybody with their nose pressed against a glass is liable to look stupid. Anyhow, he's a different Fred. Fred's my brother."

"You call your own f-f-flesh and b-b-blood stupid?"

"If he is he is."
This is a short novella, about a female character who deserved her place as one of the most outstanding literary characters of all times. What captured me the most is the way this young woman was presented to the world. Someone who could be loved; a young woman who could become a friend. She had heart and soul. She was warm and wonderful. But just as cold and calculating, since she did not quite trust the people's intentions towards her and therefore never really allowed herself to bond with anyone.
"I like a man who sees the humor; most of them, they're all pant and puff."
Her actions prevented people to come too near, even her friends stood aside. A tragic figure. A statistic for the cognoscenti, the people who despised the likes of her.

The film adaptation of this novella was very different from the book. I suspect nobody wanted to play the lead role of Holly, since it was unacceptable for their careers. And to get Audrey Hepburn to be the star, the script had to be changed considerably. The most important difference was to portray Holly as an innocent young woman who did not prostitute herself in the movie. The male lead, played by George Peppard, became a romantic character instead of the gay writer who became her friend in the book(he fell in love with his childhood postman). In the movie he also became a toy-boy himself to a wealthy women (not part of the book).

Although I enjoyed the movie, I loved the book much more.

Truman Capote created a complex character in his iconic writing style. Nobody can forget Holly Golightly. The social realism of the 1940s-New York embraced this girl next door, and made her something very different than the normal portrayal of these social climbers. She became a person with a heart and soul. Someone to empathize with.

A wonderful, soul-touching story. A classic must-read.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 19, 2017 – Shelved
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-releases
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: american-author
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: american-novel
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: fiction
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: golden-oldies-classics
February 19, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 5, 2017 – Shelved as: literary-novel

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Cyndi Great review!! Although I haven't read this book, I have wanted to for years. I'll have to move it up the list. Thanks!


Margitte Cyndi wrote: "Great review!! Although I haven't read this book, I have wanted to for years. I'll have to move it up the list. Thanks!"

Thanks, Cyndi. I procastinated as well. ... :-)


Michael Wonderful review. You nailed why it still charms. Easy to forget the differences from the movie, and now you explain the why.


Margitte Michael wrote: "Wonderful review. You nailed why it still charms. Easy to forget the differences from the movie, and now you explain the why."

Thank you so much, Michael. I really appreciate you stopping by.


Bianca Fantastic review. I should re-read it and watch the movie again.


Margitte Bianca wrote: "Fantastic review. I should re-read it and watch the movie again."

Thank you, Bianca. I was actually watching a documentary about Audrey Hepburn Sunday morning, and then decided to finally read this book which I had for so long. Yes, it's so worth our while to wander down memory lane, even though we were not even born yet. Sometimes it's good to just commemorate greatness, right?


message 7: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Awesome review! I really need to read this!


Margitte Deanna wrote: "Awesome review! I really need to read this!"

Thanks, Deanna. :-)


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