Quick recap: this month’s Required Reading (more info about that here, if you’re new to our site) was Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Now that that’s settled… I guess you could say I’m a little disappointed. But it’s not really Capote’s fault. I blame myself because I decided to watch the movie first rather than read the book. That’s because the only movies that I’ve seen first before reading the books are Memoirs of a Geisha, The Devil Wears Prada, and Atonement. Now I do know that movie adaptions tend to be different from the material they were birthed from. Yeah, not a good enough reason to use “birthed”. I apologize for any uncomfortable imagery with that. There I go running on tangents again. (Back to my original topic)
The main issue I had was that I could not get out of the movie version. I desperately tried to transplant the characters from the movie to the book. I kept waiting for the events in the book to match up exactly as the movie. And while the main events are mostly kept the same, it is the ending that ultimately got me. In addition the Holly, played by Audrey Hepburn in the movie, is different than the Holly in Capote’s world. I can’t exactly pinpoint my exact feelings, only that I felt different with each character. So in order to try and understand why I feel the way I do, I’ll start by finding the differences. I never realized Holly would be so young. The way Hepburn carries herself makes Holly seem leaps and bounds older than her actual age. In addition, Capote’s Holly seems a lot more aware of her social standing (as well let’s say an escort) despite being carefree. But coupled with an easy-going nature is also a character that seems abundantly more jealous and selfish. Jealous and selfish are two attributes I would never ever say about Audrey Hepburn. Classic and elegant, yes. But even more than the character differences, I think the problem is ultimately how Hepburn, and George Peppard (“Fred”/narrator/Paul Varjak), became such icons with this film. The characters have been forever immortalized because of the constant obsession with Hepburn and of course the chic fashion. Ultimately this somehow impeded my enjoyment of the book.
*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. SPOILERS. EXIT NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS*
In regards to the ending, the movie seems to play a hand in how we expect rom-com’s to end up: happily. It always (well usually) seems that the guy gets the girl. Capote’s book doesn’t explicitly say they end up with each other. In fact we know that Holly ends up travelling abroad and the whole story is based on one giant flashback. We, as readers, never receive confirmation if they will meet in the future, but I guess you could say that it ends happily. One of the snippets from a review was printed on the cover and it reads, “The most romantic story ever written – Alex James, Guardian”. Now I wouldn’t say it is “the” one; I wouldn’t really give an item a superlative. Except Nutella. Nutella is THE tastiest breakfast topping. But it is one of those unique books that give you a unique view on what “love” and “romance” are. It makes you think if we have just become entranced with the idea of love rather than really experiencing it. To that, I have no real answer.
As always best wishes,