Saturday, August 30, 2008

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Just like many of the characters within Truman Capote's novella, I have been swept away, infatuated and fallen in love with Holly Golightly. I believe that was intentional by the author which is what makes this little story so great.

At just over 100 pages, we enjoy her for such a short period of time before she flits out of our life again and the story ends. I feel as if Truman Capote treats the reader as just another enamored suitor of Miss Holiday Golightly.

Oh but, she's charming and unpredictable. And she delights the world (or irritates it) with her risky adventures and devil-may-care attitude. Her past is somewhat of a mystery when we meet her at 19 years of age and it's implied that she had rough times as a child.

But rather than writing another story of heroine-overcomes-bad-childhood, Capote glosses over her past and presents us with an ambitious and manipulative character who takes on the world in the most endearing way. Holly Golightly happens to the world and just when the world wants to box her in, she moves on, refusing to be pinned down. She lives true to her calling card which reads, "Miss Holiday Golightly, Traveling".

In talking about her first husband (Doc) to the bartender (Joe Bell) she says...

"Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell," Holly advised him. "That was Doc's mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."
The writing is delicious and the story has a rhythm which seduces you much in the same way that you become seduced by Holly herself. It's a irresistible story and I can see why it's considered such a classic.

Time and again while reading this story, I was struck by it's racy nature. Set in the 1940's, Holly is anything but pure and admittedly declares, "I am top banana in the shock department!"

The only piece of furniture she owns is a satin-tufted four-poster bed; she's free with her sexuality, and she has affairs with married men. Her language is anything but a lady's and contrasts strikingly with her beautifully-coifed and glamorous appearance.

I couldn't help but think how provocative this little book must have been for it's day. I'm looking forward to seeing how it was interpreted on screen since I have not yet seen the movie which Audrey Hepburn made so famous.

Since this is my fourth read for the 1% Well-Read Challenge, I'll be tackling Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres next. I have read one other novel by de Berniere's titled Birds Without Wings and it was an exceptional piece of historical fiction about the war for Turkish independence. I recommend it without reservation which leads me to select another one of his books to read next.

If you have read any of the books, I've mentioned in today's post or even written a review, I'd love to hear from you!


Debra said...

Now I am curious to read the book and get drawn away too! (You are such a good influence!)

Allison Ann Aller said...

Your reviews are always so great.
I've not read this but see now that I will have to.

The Truman Capote story that made the deepest impact on me is called "A Christmas Memory". The televised production of this starring Geraldine Page made me cry harder than anything I've seen before or since...but not because it was sad...but because it was so moving.
Amazing what a writer can do for us to open our hearts!

Cathy K said...

Hi Susan, two things: I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award. See my post of Sept. 1. Secondly, I'm reading along with you on your 1% Well-Read Challenge - started Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton yesterday. And had a job interview at Barnes & Noble (next interview: Friday). Love your review and will add that to my cue as well. Luv ya, Cathy

Balwearie said...

You will love "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" which I thought was loads better than the movie. The characters in the book have so much more depth. On the other hand, I think you will greatly enjoy seeing "Breakfast at Tiffany's". I'm planning to watch it again soon myself.

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