Wednesday 16 December 2009

Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Pages - 100

First published by Penguin books in 1961

First line

I am always drawn to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbourhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment.

I just loved this book and from the first paragraph I was smitten. I have watched the film so many times, that I wondered if the book would be a little boring to me as I knew the story so well, but I was completely wrong.

For anyone who doesn't know, this is the story of Holly Golightly and the effect she has on the people in her life. Holly is an enigma, no one knows who the real Holly is and everyone she meets is fascinated by her. She comes across as a girl full of fleeting fancies with no real attachment to anyone, her life is full of fun and laughter. Yet underneath, you learn that Holly has a past like everyone else, yet she has been more successful at covering it up. She can change her character and lifestyle with the blink of an eye. As I read the story, I could not help but picture Audrey Hepburn in this role, as to me, Holly and Audrey are as one.

At the end of the book, you cannot help but feel sorry for Holly, as an innocent act on her behalf leads to her downfall. Her life is turned upside down very quickly, however she deals with it with dignity and grace, by packing up and moving on to a new beginning.

Truman's descriptions within the book are vivid and fulfil nearly all your sensory needs. His writing is truly beautiful and I can' t believe I have not read any of his work before. His characters are full of life and seem to jump off the pages of the book. This book is a short book, but a powerful one that stays in your thoughts long after you have finished reading it.

The book is written in first person, yet you never get to know who the narrator is. He remains a shadow in comparison to the colourful Holly. It reminded me of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, which also had the narrator as an unknown talking about the enigmatic Rebecca. I didn't enjoy this writing style within Rebecca, but I felt that it suited this story so well, because no one could compare and stand out as much as Holly. Holly is a flighty character who tries to shock the people around her with her strong opinions of others; she does all she can to be the centre of attention.

I would highly recommend this book, even if you have watched the film. I hope to read 'A Christmas Memory,' too, before Christmas descends upon us.

Have you read any of Capote's books? Which one would you recommend?


  1. Oh, I adore this book! Capote is one of my favourite writers, and my favourite of his is The Grass Harp. I am so glad you loved this too.

  2. Great review, Vivienne! I read this book this autumn but I have never seen the film(but I want to!). I liked it but I could have wished that the story was a bit longer and told me a bit more about Holly. I have In Cold Blood on audio but I haven't listened to it yet. If you haven't seen it I recommend the movie Capote(2005).

  3. Tell me, why am I scared to death of Truman Capote??

  4. Love this book. In Cold Blood is great as is The Grass Harp.

  5. I have a confession to make, I haven't seen the film let alone read the book - which do you reccomend I do first? Glad to hear that the book lived up to your expectations, a great review.

  6. I am the same as Petty Witter above- I haven't read or seen Breakfast at Tiffany's! Clearly must get on that.

    I think I only have Truman Capote's In Cold Blood... and saw THAT movie.

  7. Nymeth - The Grass Harp is now going on my list.

    Ladybug - I haven't seen Capote, I hope to catch it at some point.

    Amanda - I am curious now as to why you are scared of Truman Capote. Is it the actual writer or his work?

    Bermudaonion - I am glad that I am not the only one to love it.

    Caitlin - In Cold Blood is on my list and I have just added The Grass Harp.

    Petty Witter and Aarti - I would recommend reading the book first. I always prefer to read the books before seeing the films.

  8. I read this book just a couple months ago and *loved* it. The very first line pulls you right into the feeling of nostalgia that envelopes the story. I had borrowed the book from the library, but it's one that I need to buy as I'm sure I'll want to read it over and over again.

  9. I have watched the movie several times but not read the book. I guess I should as well. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much Viv.

  10. I love A Christmas Memory! I've never wanted to read this, since I read somewhere that Capote that Marilyn Monroe should play Holly, which implied to me SUCH a different feel from the movie that I wasn't really interested. But your post has me wanting to give it a try! I read one of Capote's early novellas, Summer Crossing, and enjoyed it. I wasn't a big fan of In Cold Blood though.

  11. It's so lovely to read a review where both the book and the film are loved. So often one outshines the other - usually the book.

    I love the film and think it would be very hard to imagine anyone other than AH when reading the book. I'll have to get the library to order me this one in :)

  12. I just read and watched Breakfast at Tiffany a few months ago (both for the first time)! Adored both :)
    A Christmas Memory was a very very nice surprise. Never thought I could find a 5 stars short story until I found A Christmas Memory. It's so sooo good!

  13. Alitareads - it is definitely a book to own and reread.

    Dar - you would love the book.

    Eva - I just can't imagine Marilyn Munroe playing the part of Holly. Audrey made that role her own.

    Carmen - I think you would enjoy the book. It is very detailed and well written.

    Mee - welcome to my blog.
    I am looking forward to reading A Christmas Memory.

  14. Oh I love the book, it's just so beautiful. N and I watched the movie the other day. It's not his 'sort of thing' but he still ended up enjoying it..

  15. This is the same copy I have although I haven't read it yet (it's one of those books that I put off because once I have, I have - if that makes sense?) I do plan on reading "A Christmas Memory" over the next few days though.

    Capote's In Cold Blood is amazing and is the first "nonfiction fiction".

  16. I still can't believe I've never read a Capote book! In Cold Blood has been on my list for-ever! And I didn't even realize that Breakfast at Tiffany's was written by him. The film is one of my all time favorites!


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