It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while – down. Pursued by to Salvatore ‘Sally’ Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and ‘Rusty’ Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock deparment’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my all time favourite movies; full of glamour and quirkiness and so I’d put off reading the book for a long time. There’s always that sense of anticpation of disappointment and of how different it will be, which I guess can work both ways.
I hadn’t realised that it’s actually a short story at only 87 pages so I actually read it in 2 sittings. The book is quite different to the movie; the essence of the book is there and the general plot is the same but is often planned out in different scenes.
Book Holly is certainly a darker character and not necessarily a nice one; she comes across as an IT girl and is definitely a goldigger making her living by visits to the powder room ahem!! and visiting a mobster in prison.
“Leave it to me: I’m always top banana in the shock department.”
However, movie Holly is somewhat flaky and likes to talk in riddles, which initially comes across as scatty nonsense although look deeper and there is some kind of sense there. Neither version of Holly seem to care about they treat other people, in essence using older unattractive men for money; the exception being Fred her brother, he’s the one person I think she really cares about.
“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.”
The book ending is quite different to the movie and I actually preferred the romantic movie ending. This is supposed to be a love story but there isn’t much romantisicm at all.
Overall, I was a little disappointed by the book and enjoyed the cinematic experience of the story a lot more. For me , this is one instance where I prefer the movie to the book. However, if you’ve not read the book or seen the movie and it interests you, go straight to the movie. If I’d have read the book first I wouldn’t have got to the movie.
This version contains 3 other short stories: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar and A Christmas Memory – I didn’t read these this time but may come back to them at another time.
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