Published by Penguin on 1950
Source: Owned Audible Book
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's provocative, naturalistic masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist, who eventually gets tossed away as her deepening character emerges.
Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote's most beloved work of fiction, introduced an independent and complex character who challenged audiences, revived Audrey Hepburn's flagging career in the 1961 film version, and whose name and style has remained in the national idiom since publication. Hall uses his diligent attention to character to bring our unnamed narrator’s emotional vulnerability to the forefront of this American classic.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I have a confession. Prior to reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s a few months ago, I had never even seen the movie. I’ve caught scenes of the movie, and heaven knows Audrey Hepburn’s iconic style can be summed up by that perfect little black dress and a pearl necklace. I’ve read plenty of books that reference Holly Golightly, and tons of tv shows, movies and even songs that are obsessed with the character Hepburn portrayed. I even knew about Cat the cat.
Finally I decided to read (or rather, listen) to the book and watch the movie. The only other Truman Capote novel I’ve read before was In Cold Blood, which has a much different vibe to it and I’m not sure that I can compare the two to one another.
Holly Golightly is, in my opinion, the original manic pixie dream girl. She’s charming and affectionate, but on her own terms… rather like Cat, actually. She belongs only to herself (book Holly, movie Holly is a bit different). The movie features more of a HEA ending for Holly, but I found the book ending to be much more fitting to her character. I also thought it was interesting that Truman Capote himself originally wanted Marilyn Monroe for Holly. At first glance, that might seem strange, since Hepburn couldn’t have been farther from Monroe in looks and roles, but I honestly think Holly Golightly feels a bit like Marilyn. Like Golightly, Monroe never got a HEA either.
Even with the knowledge that Capote had Monroe in mind for Holly, it was impossible for me not to picture Hepburn as the main female character. She’s one of the few actresses that can use the term ‘darling’ and sound charming rather than snooty when she does so.
The book and the language is a bit jarring, but that’s a reflection of the times it was written in. Still, there were several times it made me uncomfortable, especially when a nasty term for a lesbian was used, even if aside from that one word, it gave struck me as one of the most memorable lines from the book- about how everyone as a little bit of lesbian in them. And then the line about never loving a wild thing (which is how I feel about Johnny Depp) or the mean reds. Thankfully, I’ve never had the mean reds, but I suspect that Holly has some deep mental issues. Most of the characters in the book have issues though, just like people in real life. 🙂
I’m glad I finally read the book. It’s very different from the movie and I liked being able to compare the two. The romantic in me can’t help but liking the movie ending but it didn’t bother me to have the book end differently. And while I would have loved to hear Holly’s song as it was written in the book, Moon River is one of my all time favorites… and now I have that ear worm in my head. I’ll be singing it all day. Sigh. It could be worse.
I’ve also decided to charge the Hubs every time I go powder my nose, it’s the best way to save money up to go to BEA again this year. I’m also totally open to delivering weather reports to any Italian gentlemen who happen to be serving time in prison. Cash upfront, of course.
Although I’ve been wanting to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s for a long time, it was the narrator that sold me on getting the audio book. It’s read by Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame! And yes, I loved his narration. That man can read to me anytime he likes. Meow.