In the early 1940s, Holly Golightly is the ultimate girl-about-town. She knows everyone, and she knows everything about them. But no one really knows her, beyond the face she presents to the public. She’s involved with millionaire playboys and incarcerated gangsters alike. She’s a little bit call girl, a little bit lesbian, and one hundred percent enigmatic. Breakfast at Tiffany’s begins with the narrator, a writer whose name we never learn, getting a phone call from an old acquaintance. When the two meet up, the narrator reminisces about his relationship with Holly, from beginning to end.
I’ve been a huge fan of the movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s for a long time, but was a bit afraid to read the novella. So many movies based on books take too much of the story away, and I end up disliking the movie because of it. However, in this case my fears were unfounded, because many of the things I love about the movie are taken from the book. For example, I love Holly’s description of the mean reds (or as the narrator puts it, angst) because it’s a feeling I think we all can relate to from time to time.
There are differences, of course. In the novella, Holly’s a bit more brash and gritty, as opposed to just being flighty and free-spirited. Additionally, the ending of the book doesn’t wrap it up quite as neatly as the movie. Where the movie had a typical romantic happy ending, the novella has Holly choosing a different path- and being much more aware of exactly what she was doing.
I tried hard to read this novella without comparing it to the movie, but as you can see from my review, I found it nearly impossible. All of Holly’s dialog in the book sounded just like Audrey Hepburn (in spite of the fact that AH sounds nothing like someone who originally started out in Texas- even if Holly did manage to shake the accent, she wouldn’t sound like Audrey). But the differences between the novella and the movie aren’t pronounced enough that I love either one less. I’m sorry it took me as long as it did to read the novella; it was a great read, and one that I will probably go back to revisit from time to time.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Qualifying Challenges: 100 Books, 999 Challenge, Spring Reading Thing
999 Category: 1001 Books