#74 A Review of Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote was published in 1958.  The novel also contains three other short stories, House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered to be Capote’s crowning literary achievement. 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the story of Holly Golightly, girl-about-New York.  An un-named narrator reflects back on his time living above Holly in a New York City brownstone.  Holly is a naive, charming, quirky, sexy, flirty, smart, witty fledgling of a woman who men pay to be with.  Holly has the ability to make everyone fall in love with her and they almost always do.  The narrator tells the reader of how his friendship with Holly came to be, and what he learned of her past and it’s effect on her present and future.
The language of the book is absolutely charming.  You get pulled into Holly’s world and are deeply enchanted with it and her, leading to an understanding of how she’s become the “it” girl of New York City.  The terminology the book is written with has a cool beatnik slang feel to it.

So, he said, what do you think: is she or ain’t she?….You’re wrong.  She is a phony.  But on the other hand you’re right.  She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony.  She believes all this crap she believes.”

It gives the book a timeless feeling as Holly can be any woman at any time in any given place.  This is one of the big reasons she remains so popular today.  She represents an ideal that woman can control their own lives and chose their own destinies.  She changed the notion that only men can use sex to their advantage.  As much as sex is an important part of Holly’s character, it’s not outright discussed that she is a prostitute.  Reading this work is more about reading in between the lines, than what is actually written. 

I really did enjoy the novel, but found the film version to be more complete.  I did however enjoy the characters and side stories that didn’t make it into the film. they all added new dimensions to Holly’s character.  I would like to mention that those familiar with the film version to be prepared for a slightly different story.  The film version altered the print version, most notably changing the ending. 

If you chose to read this novel I heartily recommend Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M – Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson.  Fifth Avenue is about the creation of Holly Golightly and how she changed the view of the modern woman.  It also gives background on how the novel was written and also how the novel was turned into a film. 

4 out of 5 Stars

5 thoughts on “#74 A Review of Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

  1. Seen the movie lots of times, but I haven’t read the book, and I have heard in what way the endings are different. Which ending do you prefer, and why?

    • I have to cop out and say I like both – here’s why though. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. I like that the movie ending ties everything up and that everything is resolved and everyone is happy. It’s a typical Hollywood ending. The book outcome is more realistic when you look at who Holly is and what her actions have been over the course of the novel.

      Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an example of why I like novels so much. It’s ok for them to have non-cookie cutter endings the way most Hollywood films do. There is no perfect formula when it comes to writing a book, the way that filmmakers have formulas to make blockbusters.

  2. Kimberly’s review of Breakfast at Tiffany’s was insightful, smart, witty, charming, amusing and enlighting. however one does wonder how Todd would approach this review.

  3. Pingback: The Weekly Roundup – Week 3 « Reflections of a Book Addict

  4. Pingback: #1 A Review of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. By Sam Wasson « Reflections of a Book Addict

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