Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and the Movie

New York 1940s. Playgirl Breakfast at Tiffany'sHolly Golightly captures the heart of everybody that passes her path. Our narrator, Fred — as she calls him, is a shy wannabe writer. Neighbours at first, they start to develop a unique relationship.

Holly is all charm — the type that men want but can’t have, free as a bird. Along the story I could feel Fred, there’s a want and need to get closer to her, but never could. Breakfast at Tiffany’s IS Holly. We get a glimpse of her captivating life and adorable personality, but couldn’t get more. There’s a sense of loss when she’s distanced.

The thin ice that she and Fred play on was interesting — friendship though not without a doze of attraction and jealousy, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it romantic like the back cover states.

Quote

“Perhaps, like most of us in a foreign country, he was incapable of placing people, selecting a frame for their picture, as he would at home; therefore all Americans had to be judged in a pretty equal light, and on this basis his companions appeared to be tolerable examples of local colour and national character.” ~ Fred on a foreigner, p54

4 stars

truman capoteTruman Capote could be my next favorite author, though for me it’s mainly for the next three short stories that come with the book I was reading. For the first time in the longest time, I actually enjoyed short stories.

House of Flowers
Ottilie is the favorite girl of the bar she’s working at, until one day a young man captures her heart. They get married in two days and she moves to his house. Unfortunately he has an evil mother who bothers her to no end. I thought the story as a whole was a bit odd, because it’s 3/4 love story and 1/4 creepy story, complete with witchcraft. Pretty good short story for the RIP Challenge. 4 stars

A Diamon Guitar
The theme is freakishly similar with the movie Shawshank Redemption which I just watched in the same week: story of two inmates. Mr Schaeffer is an old resident of the prison to where Tico Feo is sent to. They grow to become close friends. Some days Tico Feo starts to put some ideas to Mr Schaeffer that escaping to freedom is better than to merely accept their life in prison. 4 stars


A Christmas Memory
This is my favorite short story of the lot! A Christmas Memory tells a gentle relationship between a 7 year-old boy and a 60ish woman. Bound by circumstances, they live together and take much joy in each other’s company, baking fruitcakes and gathering flowers and herbs.

Please, somebody make animated short out of this story! I could picture it in my head so much it’s not funny. If I didn’t read the book at a public bus stop, I would cry a few tears over this odd couple.

IT’S SO GOOD! SO GOOD! To add to my gush, this story is autobiographical. I never imagined I would ever find a 5 STARS SHORT STORY! 5 stars

I read that A Christmas Memory has also been made into a short movie (non-cartoon), which I might check out later. But I’m worried that it might ruin my perfect experience of this cute little story. Anyhoo, let me disrupt this review a bit by showing you a short by Disney/Pixar of The Little Match Girl. I imagine something with this style would be a perfect medium to adapt the story.

Overall rating for the book:
4 stars
1958, 157 pp

First line
I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbourhoods.

Last line
African hut or whatever, I hope Holly has, too.

Challenges
(Another) 1% Well-Read Challenge (book #6)
The Spice of Life Challenge (book #2)
Orbis Terrarum Challenge 2009 (book #9 1/2)
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge (book #24)

Also reviewed by
Reading and Ruminations
| Shelf Love | Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker | Life is a Patchwork Quilt | In Spring it is the Dawn | book-a-rama | Reading Matters | The Bluestocking Society | Ready When You Are, C.B. | Ticket to Anywhere | Orpheus Sings the Guitar Electric | 5 Minutes for Books | Nonsuch Book | casual dread | Books for Breakfast | The Magic Lasso | katrina’s reads

Did I miss yours?

The Guardian Digested Classics of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (not recommended. Go read the book!)

breakfast_at_tiffany_sThe Movie

The book and the movie is different in a good way. I’d say each has its own merits. But this is one of those rare cases where I think the movie adaption could actually surpass the book, even though the relationship between the main characters and the ending were changed! I loved Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Gorgeous, captivating, vulnerable. She was perfect. Unlike the book, yes, you can call the movie romantic.

Apart from the changes I mentioned above, “Fred” is portrayed as someone who accepts money for companionship (did I just say gigolo in a very nice way?), which I found oddly forced to balance Holly. Talking about accepting money for companionship, some people blatantly label Holly as prostitute. I refuse to label her that. She’s a much more complex character, both in personality and in ‘profession’, which is what makes her so iconic and memorable.

Below is the trailer to the movie. Beware that there are some spoilers in it. (Why people put spoilers in trailer I would never understand.)

I loved Audrey Hepburn! Did I say I loved her? I really want to watch her other movies now! Do you have any to recommend?

1961, 115 min
Rating: 8/10

The Guardian – Breakfast at Tiffany’s: When Audrey Hepburn won Marilyn Monroe’s role (great article!)

Have you read Capote before? What do you think of his works?

Have you watched the movie? Which one did you like more?

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35 thoughts on “Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and the Movie”

  1. I’ve been meaning to read my volume of these Capote stories and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I have heard such great things about “A Christmas Memory”; Nymeth lists it as one of her favourite short stories on her site. I contemplated leaving until Christmas this year but I don’t think that I can now!

    I adore Audrey Hepburn and would recommend A Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Charade.
    .-= [Paperback_Reader´s last blog: I Served the King of England] =-.

    1. You can still wait until Christmas! For me it’s scorching hot usually around Christmas time here so it’s good that I get to read it when the weather was still cool (whatever the correlation is ;). I never heard of A Christmas Memory before I picked up this book, so my finding is a total coincidence! I’ll definitely look for Hepburn’s movies that you mentioned!

  2. Now you know why Capote is my number one favourite short story author :D A Christmas Memory blew my mind. I love this book so much – mostly the short stories, but also the novella. I love it so much, in fact, that I’ve been afraid to watch the movie, even though I know it’s such a classic and have owned the DVD for years.
    .-= [Nymeth´s last blog: The Secret History by Donna Tart] =-.

    1. I never heard of A Christmas Memory before I picked up the book, so it’s a total coincidence that I got to read it and found it amazing! I didn’t know that Capote is your favorite short story author before too. I totally get it now ;).

      I can understand how worrying it is if you love the book so much. But I think you needn’t worry for this one as I (and many people from what I read) found the movie as great as the book. Or in my case, I liked the movie even more.

    1. I know, she’s so captivating. I saw clips on youtube when she’s old (before she died). Can someone get old more gracefully? She’s still almost as pretty as when she was young! Can’t wait to watch Charade and her other movies.

  3. I’ve been eyeing Capote for some time now, and you’ve just convinced me that I should read his works. And I’m quite surprised to read that Breakfast at Tiffany’s is his story! That’s one of my mom’s favorite movies back in her days, though I haven’t seen it yet. She also loves Audrey Hepburn :) I’ve always thought that Capote’s stories were dark and grim (though I’m not sure where I got that idea). And now from your review I understand that he’s quite a versatile writer. Oh you really got me really curious now! I think I’ll be adding his book In Cold Blood to my list of readings next year. I’ve been planning to catch up with American, Canadian, and English authors next year. Thanks for the reviews! :)
    .-= [Mark David´s last blog: Review: The Old Capital] =-.

    1. I kinda had that impression that Capote’s stories were dark and grim too. It’s probably because of In Cold Blood — which is his only novel if I’m not mistaken. Or his name! His name sounds like a mystery writer. Even his face! :) Anyway I was quite surprised (in a nice way) to find that his stories in that book were far from dark.

  4. I loved Audrey Hepburn in the movie, I thought she brought out the vulnerability of the character so well. If you like Hepburn, you might want to watch Roman Holiday; it’s a really sweet romantic movie.

  5. Thanks for linking to my review. As I mentioned there, I liked the novella version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” better than the movie version.

    I think the only other works of Capote I’ve read so far is “Summer Crossing”, a short novel published after Capote’s death. The story about how it came to be published (included in my edition of the book) is interesting — in the 1950’s, several of Capote’s papers were put out for the trash, but a passer-by came across them and stored them in his basement until his death. That’s when the papers, and the manuscript to that novel, were all discovered again.

    Anyway, I do want to read more of Capote eventually!
    .-= [Valerie´s last blog: Ahem….] =-.

    1. I can understand why some people like the novella more. It’s edgier and less Hollywood-ish in general.

      That’s an interesting story about Summer Crossing! So apparently it’s published very recently in 2005. I would like read more Capote too eventually, but haven’t decided which one next!

    1. I’m not sure if you’d love the book if you watch the movie first. But some people like the book more, so worth trying!

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