Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

April 29, 2010 § 15 Comments

I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella, really, at less than 100 pages long. Capote’s style is one that is simple, accessible; and his characters are people who you can easily warm up to. In no time at all, I found myself quite engrossed in the narration of the story of a young Holly Golightly.

(I have attempted to write a brief description of the story at least 3 times, but ended up deleting all of them.) It’s not that there is no story to tell, but rather, I feel the story is so simple, so down-to-earth, I have a slight fear that I might end up spoiling its simple beauty for the few(?) who have not read the novella, or watched the movie.

What I can say, though, is how I felt about it. And the one thing that stood out for me was the strong feeling of searching for one’s own space, looking for that place to belong. Holly felt so much like a free spirit, a wild one; and yet at the same time, there was a certain vulnerability to her character, like as if she was missing something important.

“If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.”

~ Holly

It’s difficult not to like Holly. Though rather selfish and obnoxious at times, she possesses a certain charm, a positive radiance; you cannot but feel that she is all she can be, and no one can fault her for anything.

“Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.”

~ Holly

Rating: 4



I must say, I was a little disturbed when I realised, quite early on in the movie, that it was quite different from the novella. I didn’t like that certain characters were taken away, and some rather unusual characters were instead put in. So at about the 15-minute point of the movie, I had actually wrote it off as something I wouldn’t like.

I persisted in finishing it, however, and somewhere in the middle, I think the movie pleasantly surprised me, because I found myself actually enjoying it. It could very well have much to do with the fact that Holly was played by Audrey Hepburn. You just cannot not love that woman. She fit into Holly’s role like a glove, really. That was how completely believable she was.

I still think the novella tells a better story. But for what it’s worth, I definitely rediscovered my love for Audrey Hepburn, since first watching her in My Fair Lady.


§ 15 Responses to Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

  • Kristen M. says:

    I watched the movie many, many times before picking up the novella and really prefer the movie. Audrey is amazing (of course!) and I liked the way her character was more ambiguous in the movie — less damaged and less obnoxious. Also, I like her ending in the movie better. I wonder how that would have been different if I had read the book first.

    • Michelle says:

      I think it really does depend, sometimes, on which you’re exposed to first, the movie or the book. Interesting, though, I think I preferred Holly in the book simply because she felt rather naive and damaged both at the same time. Maybe there was a sense of vulnerability as well.

  • Tony says:

    I’d like to read this, but it will have to be from the library; there’s no way I’m paying for something I’ll finish in about an hour…

    • Michelle says:

      Haha, Tony. I know exactly what you mean. Especially with how much they’re selling books for in Aussie..

  • mee says:

    I actually fell in love with Audrey Hepburn from this movie! (which was her first movie that I watched) Didn’t know about her at all before that. I have since watched Roman Holiday, and intend to watch ALL her movies! :

    I was a bit torn between the movie and the book. Each has its positive and negative elements I thought. But yes what I love about Truman Capote is how the characters he created are so believable, so close, and so alive (which was what I felt with A Christmas Memory too).

    • Michelle says:

      Audrey Hepburn is amazing. And really, I simply LOVED My Fair Lady. They don’t make movies like that anymore..

      I think if I had more time in between the book and the movie, I might have enjoyed the movie a lot more than I did. And if I didn’t place any kind of expectation on it. I found the narrator’s girlfriend a little odd (in the movie).. Didn’t quite like her inclusion, but other than that, I suppose the romanticising of their relationship worked quite well for the screen. =)

  • JoV says:

    I’ll surely read this! Any slim novella or books or short stories appeals to me now.

    • Michelle says:

      Novellas and short stories are starting to have a strong weighting with me now as well. I hope you like it when you do read it.

  • Nymeth says:

    This is one of my favourite books, so I’m very pleased to hear you enjoyed it too. I’ve seen the movie once, I think, long ago, but I’ve been afraid to watch it again after falling in love with the book (and all of Capote really). I guess I just need to keep reminding myself that they are meant to be different things.

    • Michelle says:

      They are meant to be different things, aren’t they? I keep reminding myself that too, but for some reason, I always forget my own advice.

  • catmeng says:

    I think it’s one of those rare cases where the movie and book are completely different, but both are amazing in their own right.
    Apparently Capote originally wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly. I can’t even imagine what that would be like! Audrey is so perfect for the role.

    Have you seen Funny Face yet? Hepburn and Astaire dancing in Paris in beautiful clothes…doesn’t get any better than that 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Marilyn Monroe? Really? I don’t think it would work that well, though…

      Thanks for recommending another Audrey movie. Will definitely look that up.

  • Sasha says:

    I’ve never been inclined to try out Capote’s books, not this one, or In Cold Blood. But you make it sound like it’s worth a try–I definitely trust your judgment on this one. 🙂 I’m adding it to the list!

  • Jessica says:

    I think I would prefer the book, Ive seen the film and while I thought it was good its not one I rave about.

  • Faith says:

    I don’t know how old this thread is but I had to comment both the film and then book are lovely but the book is so much better and even though I love audrey Hepburn I just don’t think she was the same
    holly golightly in the book.

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