Yesterday I started, and finished, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote. This is an incredibly short novel, but even so I really enjoyed it, and I liked the fact that I could read it in an afternoon!
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is based on the exploits of Holiday Golightly, a young socialite living in an apartment in New York. I never realised just how young she is meant to be, with the book starting a couple of months before her nineteenth birthday.
Her job is never precisely labelled, but she surrounds herself with rich men, and she uses her charms and good looks in order to build up the money she needs to live, and afford expensive shopping trips. I think she is meant to be more of an escort than a prostitute, although this is never specifically stated, mainly because she is meant to be portrayed as a woman of mystery, with everyone around her both loving and admiring her.
The book is told from the point of view of a young man, who lives in the apartment above Holly, and he recounts the brief time in which she lived below him. With her bright blonde hair and crazy antics, he is instantly drawn to her, and he is fascinated by the parties and glamour that goes on downstairs.
He soon becomes swept up in her world, going on trips to the local bar, and acting as a confidante for her, as she reveals her various clients, including Sally Tomato, the notorious criminal who she visits every week in prison in order to give him some company.
Whether she realises that he is secretly using her to give messages to others outside the prison is debatable, but it made for an interesting plotline. The narrator also gradually finds out about Holly’s life before she came to New York, and the various things she was running away from.
I really liked this book. It was light-hearted and funny, but also had some deeper and darker undertones that made it an interesting read. Holiday Golightly was a fantastic main character. She was spirited and funny, and her world was so interesting to delve into. However, when it becomes clear that she just wants to feel at home somewhere, and this is why she cannot settle anywhere, I could see a sadder tone to her character.
On the one hand, she is a flighty but strong woman, supporting herself and creating no ties for herself. But on the other hand, she is not truly happy. It seems to me that her frivolous lifestyle hides a deeper sadness. She may have been successful in escaping her old life, and made something of herself, but she is also clearly troubled.
This book really reminded me of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as the main character is similarly haunted by their past. The narrator of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ also reminded me of the narration of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by Nick Carraway, and the awe of the narrator is clear in both, as they watch the glamour and partying from afar.
The setting of this book was also brilliant. The book is set in 1940s New York, and I thought this really added to the atmosphere and feel of the book. The fashion and glamour of Holiday Golightly really made the book, as well as the film.
The film of this book is probably one of the most famous films ever, mainly because Audrey Hepburn plays Holly. In fact, Truman Capote was against this casting, as the character in the book is meant to have blonde hair, whereas Audrey is a dark brunette. Despite this, I cannot imagine Holiday Golightly any other way, and Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of the character is really something special.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought the whole feel of the book was brilliant, and the glamour of the main character made for an interesting read. You cannot help but fall in love with Holiday Golightly, and her world is just so odd and wild that it sweeps you in, just as the narrator gets swept in.
The deeper tones of the book were also interesting to read, and the way in which Capote considers the life Holly escaped, and whether her life is better now, is fascinating. I would definitely recommend this book to any ‘The Great Gatsby’ lovers.
This book (and the film version) has recently been analysed as to its relevance for modern viewers, find out more here.
What do you think of my review of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote? Have you read this book/watched the film? Would you ever give this book a go?
Let me know any thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x