Breakfast at Tiffany’s
by Truman Capote
Genre: classic, fiction, short story
In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.
This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend — whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.
Even though Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the main story I should base my rating on, I can’t deny the writing brilliance of the author in general. It wins over my feelings about Holly.
I must confess I’ve never seen the movie (it’s not one of classics people outside of the US consider as must-see movies). Considering the story itself and the flighty character, I’m not particularly likely to do so in the future either – it is a good short story, but not something to make me go »wow«. I disliked Holly even though I can see the appeal of the character; she’s complex behind the seemingly simple exterior, which makes her intriguing. People can find all kinds of motivations for her behaviour and see her as a portrayal of a past age. She does voice some truths, but generally her behavior just annoys me.
Holly is a woman that is very resourceful and who cashes in her beauty to get material goods and social capital. If people are willing to finance her, it is their problem when they are taken advantage of, but I’m more disgusted with the way she uses passive-aggressive ways to keep her queen bee position. She is so bitchy towards her female friends. I’m also disgusted with her marriage to an old man at age 14 because it is implied she agreed to it. It is really murky. I’m not going to judge her since she was a child at the time and the man should be the one ashamed of himself, but the whole thing left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. It set the tone for her life – she’s always taking advantage of men or men take advantage of her, although maybe I’m too harsh. The thing is – she could have found a nice job but she’d much rather play a courier for mafia and having a sugar daddy on hand. *headdesk*
She pretends to be stupider than she really is to appear non-threatening. For some reason men just clamber to help her, which I found really weird. So basically I just don’t like her very much – she rubs me the wrong way, and that is ok too. We have our preferences. But I like the writing style and the story flowed really well. I give it 3 stars.
I liked Christmas Morning (one of the additional short stories) a lot better. It just hit me right in the heart and I love both characters immensely. It is a fantastic childhood story that resonates with me since I always enjoyed baking with my grandmother or just spending holidays with her. I also had a kite at her place. I give it 5 stars.
The Diamond Guitar was a melancholy story about a prisoner and his attempted escape – 4 stars.
House of Flowers wasn’t that good – 3 stars.
Capote’s writing style is very easy to read and yet very complex in the emotions he conveys and calls forth so easily. I hope to read more of his work in the future.