#1 A Review of Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. By Sam Wasson

Cover ImageFifth Avenue 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson is the back story about the writing of and eventual production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Wasson also delves into how Breakfast at Tiffany’s helped shaped the modern woman and usher in the sexual revolution of the 60’s. 
Beginning with Capote writing the short story Breakfast at Tiffany’s and ending with the reception of the film version, the book chronicles the long arduous journey from short story to produced film.  Fifth Avenue discusses all the ways that Breakfast at Tiffany’s helped usher in the ideals that shaped a modern woman.  The ideas that a woman could be in control of her own sex life, work, and be independent. 
Sam Wasson articulates his thoughts and points beautifully.  He takes all of these fantastic bits and pieces of knowledge about the story writing, screenplay writing, costume design, lighting, character casting, just everything  and molds it into a narrative that flows from beginning to end.  The reader can definitely feel his love and appreciation for Tiffany’s through this work. 
One of my favorite things about the novel are the sections about how it influenced pop culture and society.  As a HUGE film fan I absolutely love reading about the power that films have to impact our lives.  To read about how the film influenced modern culture and also how it’s choice of leading lady helped lead a feminist revolution was awesome.
I find it really interesting that a lot of modern cultural references to the empowerment of women, such as Sex and the City and 9 to 5, can trace their roots to the image of a strong and confident Holly Golightly.  The way the book analyzes what made Holly Golightly such a new female is very interesting.
I cannot recommend this book enough.  You will not be disappointed!
5 out of 5 Stars
Fifth Avenue 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson
Harper Collins Publishers (2010)
Hardcover 231 pages
ISBN: 9780061774157
To visit Sam Wasson’s website click here
To follow Sam Wasson on Twitter click here
To read Sam Wasson’s blog click here
Related Links
For a link to my review of Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s click here
For a link to my thoughts on a specific quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s click here
For a link to Adam’s thoughts on a specific quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s click here

The Weekly Roundup – Week 5

So I’d like to start my weekly roundup this week with the hope that everyone had a great holiday!

Belle and Sebastian (Our cats)

Last Wednesday I did a mini-happy hour with some friends from work.  Our offices were closed on Thursday and Friday so it was just a little way to start the holiday for us.  After we hung out for a bit Todd and I headed off to Home Depot to go pick out our Christmas tree.  Todd and I do fake trees because of the cats.  We had a small little apartment tree the past two years, but have out grown it now.  With our new tree in hand we headed home to get it set up and into its base.  With that all settled I began packing for our overnight trip to Jersey. 

Thursday morning we got up and watched a majority of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while getting ready.  We hopped in the car and started the trek down to Jersey.  We hit major traffic on the Garden State Parkway but we got to Todd’s parents house with time to spare!  After a short respite from all the traveling we hopped in the car again, this time to Todd’s Aunt and Uncle’s house.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with them and got back to Todd’s parents around 11pm.  Todd’s little cousin Sarah (who is the most adorable thing ever) kept us busy the whole trip, so as soon as we got back it was straight to bed.

Our Christmas Tree

Friday morning we headed up to my parents house (half hour away from Todd’s parents) to help them decorate a bit for Christmas.  We had lunch with my best friend Stephen and then continued with the decorating.  We had a Thanksgiving buffet for dinner with my parents, Grandma, and Aunt Barbara, and then it was back up to Connecticut.  Todd and I made it back to our apartment around 6pm and started getting all of our own Christmas stuff out.  I started blasting the holiday CD’s and decorating our tree.  Adam came over and we had some eggnog and got in the spirit. 

Christine and Me

Saturday was a great day as my sister Christine and her fiancée Jason stopped by on their way down from Cape Cod.  (They live in Manhattan but went up to the Cape to spend the holiday with Jason’s family)  So over they came for lunch with their two dogs Ethan and Chelsea. It’s always hysterical to see the dogs and cats react with each other.  Sebastian tries to act all brave, but as soon as a dog gets near him he freaks out!  We all just hung out, had lunch, and randomly watched the end of Flashdance.  (It was on TV, don’t ask)  Todd and I also watched Brothers later on in the day. WHOA good movie.  I highly recommend it!

On Sunday Todd and I drove to Providence to see Jen, another of our really good friends.  We hung out and got lunch together had bubble teas, and walked around for a bit before heading to the largest liquor store I’ve ever seen.  As most of you know from Todd’s posts he is a HUGE beer fan. This liquor store had almost half  the store dedicated to just beer.  You could mix and match tons of beers from small breweries across the country.  We picked a bunch of beers and loaded the car up.  We headed back and made it home by 6.  It’s only been two days and I think I drank all the beers I picked out.  Todd can tell you more about them in his post, but I’m already counting the days to see when we can head back to that liquor store!

Somehow in the midst of everything that has gone on in the past few days I’ve managed to read three graphic novels.  I was definitely on a graphic novel kick this week.  Sense and Sensibility, The Walking Dead Volume 1, and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography. I owe you all a review on the last one. 

With December here it’s time to kick into an even higher gear. (I didn’t know I had any more to kick into)  I’ve read 80 books, leaving 20 for December.  I looked back at my totals and realized I had read 12 for the month of November.  I will absolutely die if I make it to 92 books and fail my challenge by 8 books.  If anyone has recommendations for short fast reads let me know.  I’m in the middle of two books right now (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Fifth Avenue 5AM) and am really hoping to complete them in the next day or two. 

Totals: 80 books read, 20 to go.  Here I go.

Happy Reading!

The Weekly Roundup – Week 3

Last week was a so-so week.  There were days I was totally driven to read and others I was so damn lazy.   

I headed over to Barnes and Noble on Wednesday picked up some new books. (YAY!)  I got The Road, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (reviewed here), and Boardwalk EmpireI finished writing reviews for the books I completed the prior week and got my head back into books.  I completed A Reliable Wife and had my mind BLOWN.  (See my review here for what I mean)

Thursday I read some more of Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.  The book is taking me a while to read because it’s discussing the way Breakfast at Tiffany’s changed women’s views of themselves, and what they could accomplish with their sexuality.  It also gives historical information on how the book came to be and how it was turned into a film.  There are multitudes of facts, thoughts, and ideas discussed that so I’m trying to take my time reading it to fully appreciate it.  It makes many references to the novel version of Tiffany’s so I decided to take a pause with this book and read Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  I figured what better time than now?

Friday Todd and I went to a wedding for our friends Dave and Kate.  Had a great time with all of Todd’s co-workers – it was an all around good evening.  We came home from the wedding and passed out early, as Todd had to head to Atlantic City the following day for a bachelor party.

Saturday got up early and got a ton accomplished before Todd left for AC.  I got two loads of laundry done, read some Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made brownies, and then pasta salad all by 11:30am. My aunts drove my grandma up that afternoon from New Jersey to have lunch and hang out together.  It was nice seeing them and I always enjoy seeing gram.  Adam came over that night and we just hung out, read, and watched some TV.  (Adam and I LOVE watching Law and Order Los Angeles together – we’re addicted) 

Sunday I wrote my blog reviews for A Reliable Wife and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and then started reading my next book Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister

Week end I was up to 74 completed books.  This leaves 26 books before December 31st.  I have to read a little over 4 books a week for the next 6 weeks to make it to 100!  I need to read almost two books every two days to complete the challenge for 2010.  OY OY!

I’m off now to go crawl in bed and read some more.  It’s going to be a busy 6 weeks!! Wish me luck!

Happy Reading!!

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

Cover Image
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