Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
A book with a love triangle? Grrr…Stupid Reading Challenge! I loathe love triangles.
Figuring out a book to read in this category…
A book that wouldn’t overly irritate me…
A book I haven’t already read…
Quite the challenge.
Until I was glancing over some book lists of shorter novellas, perfect material for my end-of-the-year push to meet my goal. I saw Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Fred. That Brazilian guy. The hubby from Texas. The Cat? Surely, these characters appear in the novella thus making this book counts as a love triangle. And I’d finally read something by Capote!
The novella version of Holly Golightly delights me almost as much as her Audrey Hepburn counterpart. She wears stylish clothes, flits about the city without a care in the world, and just nices people with her charm.
She plays guitar and sings. Although “Moon River” from the movie is a far superior song to the “a-travelin’ through the pastures of the sky” tune she liked so much in the novella.
In some ways, I’m impressed by her ability to adapt to any situation. Her resolve to never be tamed or caged shines through in both the novella and movie. However, her refusal to foster any attachments, even to a cat, demonstrates such a lack of self-examination. Ultimately, she proves that ignorance is bliss.
At the time this novella was written, it was quite the scandal. Holly’s not a call girl, but she’s teetering on the line. One of my favorite descriptions is of Holly’s bed “a double one at that, and quite flashy: blond wood, tufted satin.” Hmmm, makes me think of those princess-themed beds. Pretty much the same description, but for a child.
More shocking to me, though, were a few of novella Holly’s comments. She makes some offensive racist comments and unflattering generalizations about lesbians. I don’t think the movie version would hold up quite so well if Audrey Hepburn recited a few of those lines.
The main plot of the novella is quite close to the movie version. The details on Holly Golightly’s background are more flushed out. There’s a neighborhood bar with a sympathetic owner who plays a more pivotal plot role in the novella as well.
And then there’s the resolution. While Holly’s traveling nature still governs her actions, the novella’s ending actually satisfies the realist in me much more so than the romantic pat ending in the movie. Most people don’t embrace change easily. Changing Holly Golightly? I wouldn’t want to write impossible, but when the movie ends, I always wonder how long Holly stayed in that cab.