Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Sunday Salon/1% Well-Read Challenge: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Good morning, fellow Saloners! This is the first time in a LONG time that I've actually been able to sit down, write a TSS post, and get some reading done on a Sunday. Right now, I'm working my way through The Once and Future King (I read it at school, during the required 20-minute "Sustained Silent Reading" period), The Last Temptation of Christ, by Nikolas Kazantzakis, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz (both of those are for challenges I'm woefully behind on).

I've managed to read a TON of books; unfortunately, they're mostly YA drivel (Fear Street, I'm looking in your direction). At last count, I've read over 100 books this year, but the majority of them really only count as half a book because they're so short and don't require much thought.

1% Well-Read Challenge: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Title: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Author: Truman Capote
Genre: Fiction
Published: 1958
Pages: 192
Rating: 9 / 10

This week, I read (in addition to a plethora of the aforementioned Fear Street) Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote for the 1% Well-Read Challenge. This novella is amazing! It wasn't originally on my list, but Play's With Needles' wonderful review piqued my interest, and then I found a copy for TWENTY-FIVE CENTS at the library book sale, so it seemed like someone was telling me to read it. Plus, I LOVE the movie - I was obsessed with Audrey growing up.

You probably know the story: the narrator (called "Fred" by Holly, because he reminds her of her brother) moves to NYC and becomes enamored of his neighbor, Holly Golightly. She is an intriguing character: selfish and irresponsible, yet you can't help but love her. You would think her naivete and stream-of-conscious ramblings would be grating, but I found her completely charming. The fact that I was picturing her as Audrey Hepburn (although in the book, she's a blonde) probably added to this.

It's a very short, very fast read (which was good for me, as I'm behind in my challenges and needed a quick way to catch up). There were two passages that I particularly liked, because I thought they really highlighted Holly's independence:
She was still hugging the cat. "Poor slob," she said, tickling his head, "poor slob without a name. It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't got any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: he's an independent, and so am I. I don't want to own anything until I know I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet."
The tragedy is, (*spoiler alert*) she gets rid of the cat when she leaves New York, and then realizes that she really does care about it and wants to keep it around. By then, of course, the cat has disappeared.
My other favorite passage:
"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 a taller 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."
She's talking about herself, too, here; "Doc" is her older husband, the one she abandoned when she left for L.A. and then New York. I like this passage for personal reasons, I'll admit. My dad wrote an editorial about me using the "wild animal" metaphor once, so seeing it here really spoke to me.

All in all, it's a wonderful little book. If anything, I wish it were longer. And now I really want to dig out my copy of the movie...

Up next: The Last Temptation of Christ

Other reviews: Plays With Needles

If you've reviewed it as well, leave a comment and I'll link to it.


Anonymous said...

Breakfast at Tiffany's' is on my New York project list. Like you, I'd seen the film and loved it but never got round to the book. I hope I love it as much as you did.

Eva said...

You know, I love the movie, but I read the novella a couple years ago and really didn't enjoy it. Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe, not Audrey Hepburn, and the book Holly Golightly felt much more Monroe-ish. I loooooooove the movie though!! :)

Plays with Needles said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I felt like there were so many great lines in this little short book. I just watched the movie the other day and, though I liked it, I loved the book so much more. Be well!

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like you're making up for reading those short books, with just the first three you mentioned. ;)

The Diaz book: My wife has read and tells me I have to read it.

I forgot about Breakfast at Tiffany's being a book too. It sounds wonderful (I skipped your spoiler part, though).

Nymeth said...

I think it's amazing too! And those passages you picked are among my favourites too. You're making me want to re-read it!

Colleen said...

I love the movie. Hmm, I really do need to read the book. I'm glad you liked it!