Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote is one of those literary works that has been almost upstaged by its adaptation to another medium. I’m referring of course to the song Breakfast at Tiffany’s by nineties rock band Deep Blue Something. It’s fun, catchy, and a welcome addition at any karaoke night. I’m sure Capote would have loved it. A film version of the story was also produced. I can best describe the movie by quoting my old Under-15s cricket coach, Terry, who once told the team after a game: “Strewth almighty! ‘Disappointing’ is an understatement. You boys couldn’t hit a f***ing beach ball out there today. What a sh**show.” (The bit about the beach ball probably doesn’t apply to the movie.)

Set in New York in the early 1940s, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is told by an unnamed narrator, a young man trying to make it as a writer. He encounters and develops a friendship of sorts with a downstairs neighbour, Holly Golightly. Holly is a charming young socialite who lives on the generosity of the rich, lonely men she leads on. As the narrator and Holly get to know each other, details of Holly’s past come to light, showing depth behind her flighty, party girl persona. She follows an offer of love and security (perhaps just for the adventure), and leaves, to the disappointment of the narrator, and many others.

During the first half of the book I found Holly annoying and selfish, but as the story went on I grew to appreciate her intelligence, and even pity her. I guess first impressions don’t always tell the whole story. It’s like when this kid, Lewis, used to live next door. He was such a turd. He was always throwing his Frisbee on my roof (deliberately, I believe), and then he’d come over and ask me to get it down. I’d be up the ladder sometimes five times on a Saturday. Anyway, one day he came over to my house almost in tears saying he couldn’t find his Frisbee. I felt bad so I invited him in, and then he started telling me how his parents fought all the time and paid him no attention. It seemed the only speck of joy in this kid’s life was his Frisbee—it made me feel guilty about having stolen it and thrown it in the bin. The point is, you can’t really understand someone until you get to know his or her story. If more people realised this, the world might be a more accepting, albeit nosey place.

I like the honesty of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The characters are a treat, especially Holly. It’s a shame they had to ruin her in the movie. Bloody Hepburn. 7/10


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