Thursday, 16 October 2014
Breakfast at Tiffany's
About a week or two ago I was hanging out with a friend when she pulled a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s out of her backpack. Now, when people produce books from their bags my interest is always immediately piqued because I want to know what my friends read; and if they’d recommend it to me; or if I’ve read it. In this case I was surprised, because I had heard of the movie and the song, but I didn’t know it was first and foremost a novella by Truman Capote. Intrigued by this, and after reading a satisfying intro I jotted it down on The List*.
So when I saw a copy during my Christmas shopping (I have reasons for doing them in October!) I felt like I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. Also it was that or buying a super expensive but beautiful copy of Picture of Dorian Gray.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is interesting. Like eating new food and not yet knowing if you like or dislike the new flavour- but I find that with these ‘acquired’ tastes, in authors and in food, are usually worth it if you persist. Having finished the novella and a few short stories that were included in my copy (House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar and A Christmas Memory) I found myself as engrossed in his work as I was in McSweeney’s- which is my point of reference in short stories.
I could describe this ‘taste’ as new, but I thought this book was a bit like Catcher in the Rye, or at least it reminded me of the much-loved book I read when I was 16. Probably because of their descriptions of phonies. The only downside of reading this story was that I couldn’t get that damn song out of my head for two days.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a story told by a narrator whose name we never discover- but Holly calls him Fred. The book is his point of view and (admittedly quite neutral) opinions on Holly Golightly. Holly is a young woman who declares herself to be a free spirit. She doesn’t have a job and she hasn’t named her cat. She never unpacked her suitcases and seems to live on powder-room money and money a lawyer sends her for a weekly favour. She has admirers, yes, she seems to have dozens, and in a way our narrator is one of them. All she seems to want is to find a rich man to marry. And yet… she’s charming. She’s rude as hell, sure, but charming. You can’t not be as enticed as the narrator as she manoeuvres through life as a city celebrity.
If you saw the movie, you might remember the happy ending- it’s a bit different in the book. And honestly, I think I prefer the book. (Shocker.)
If you liked Catcher in the Rye, I think this might be something for you.
Until next time,
*at the moment The List has some of the following items:
-Jurassic Park (1 & 2)
- Wizard of Oz
- The Slow Regard of Silent Things (coming out soon)
- The Outsiders
-The Ocean at the End of the Lane
- Picture of Dorian Gray
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened