Everyone knows the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie starring the elegant and chic Audrey Hepburn. However, not everyone is as familiar with the book – one of Truman Capote’s best. Being a huge fan of the film I finally rectified the situation and read the book last week. (I can’t believe it took me so long to do!) At just 105 pages it was quick and easy, and completely enjoyable.
The story of a Holly Golightly, a hillbilly-turned-playgirl and socialite in New York City, epitomizes Capote’s sentiments of personal freedom and the acceptance of all lifestyles and human irregularities. He himself lived a very flamboyant and extraverted life, and the characters in the novel deal with the ups and downs that accompany such an existence. Holly calls them the “mean reds.”
Capote has an incredible talent, describing situations, characters, and surroundings in such a straight-forward and detailed way. Every word is crucial. Every conversation tells you more than what is actually on the page, helping you understand who the characters really are. Remember how fantastic the lines are in the movie? (“She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes.” and “I’ve got the most terrifying man downstairs, I mean he’s sweet when he isn’t drunk, but let him start lapping up the vino and oh God quel best!”) Well, those came straight from the book. Sometimes I could hear Audrey Hepburn’s voice in my head as I read the book, almost verbatim to what’s spoken on-screen. I guess when something is that good you just don’t want to change a thing.
There were a few differences, however. Paul (Fred-Baby) doesn’t keep an adulterous paramour on the side. Holly doesn’t take Paul to the bus station to send Doc back home. There’s a lot more explicit talk surrounding Holly’s promiscuity (something I know they played down in the movie because Hepburn was a little uncomfortable with the floozy role from the beginning.) The ending isn’t wrapped up quite as tidy and nice, either. There’s still a scene with a cat in an ally in the rain, but Ms. Holly Golightly and dear ‘Fred’ don’t end up in each other’s arms for a happy-ending kiss. In the book you actually don’t know what happens to Holly. She’s broken some hearts, had some defining moments, and moved on to new adventures beyond the reader’s view.
Overall, it was in incredible read. I could give it another perusing in a few short months. If you liked the movie then give the book a read. It doesn’t disappoint!