This was the last book I read in 2013; I actually finished it a half hour before midnight! Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella and, in the edition I had, three short stories were included. However, I’m going to focus solely on Breakfast at Tiffany’s in this review. When people hear the title, they probably either think of the movie or the song. I’ve seen the movie with Audrey Hepburn and I have to say that, while it has some similarities, the book is very different.
The book is narrated by an unnamed man who Miss Holly Golightly calls “Fred” after her elder brother. It begins in the autumn of 1943 and ends the following year. The narrator is reminiscing about his relationship with the young (the book says she’s 19-20) society girl and all the various events that happen. Eventually, their relationship ends, but Holly Golightly remains as the beautiful, mysterious girl that Fred was in love with.
Personally, I think Holly Golightly is the epitome of the “manic pixie dream girl” character. She’s young, beautiful, and captures the imagination of an awkward young man by regaling him with quirky stories that fit with her quirky personality. Fred is not the only man in love with her during the story.
However, in many instances, she’s flighty and capricious. She’s gone all hours of the night and sleeps all day. Of course, she also gets into spots of trouble. Rather than having a job, she accompanies wealthy men to dinners or parties and, in return, receives gifts or money. In an interview, Capote called her an “American geisha.” She’s the kind of girl that manages to get everything she wants with out having to do anything for it.
In terms of plot, there was not a a huge, complex story line. It is more of character study of Holly Golightly done by “Fred” as he examines their year long friendship. The entire novella features a whole host of interesting and unique characters from Rusty Trawler, a child-like man, to Madame Sapphia Spanella, the angry neighbor who hates Holly. I enjoyed how Capote created this dysfunctional cast of characters and in a few, simple words crafts such striking images. If you read my review on In Cold Blood, I rave about Capote’s writing style and I loved it just as much in this story. He has a certain way of seeing the world, which is unlike any other writer I’ve read.
I’d also highly recommend the short story “A Christmas Memory,” which is the moving story of a young boy and his best friend. I also recently purchased Capote’s first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, a story that I’m excited to read.