The 2015 Classics Challenge is set up by Stacey over at THE PRETTY BOOKS. The goal is to read one classic a month and to blog about the experience. I've always wanted to read more classics and since I'm in a monthly classics book group, I thought this would be a great way to combine the two!
WHEN I DISCOVERED THIS CLASSIC + WHY I CHOSE TO READ IT
As most people, I discovered this classic by the movie. The image of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly is something I've always somehow known and when I was 14 years old, I finally watched the movie and fell in love with it. I read the Capote story a short time after seeing the film and decided to revisit it this month, because 1. I'm always obsessed with Capote and wanting to read his stuff and 2. It's the month of his dead so it seemed right to honour this amazing writer with a classic of the month post.
WHAT MAKES IT A CLASSIC
I think for many people, it is the movie that makes this short story the classic, but you shouldn't be fooled by that. The movie, though amazing in its own right, is completely different from the story. Both are some of my favourite things ever created, but they are worlds apart. What makes the short story a classic is the amazing characterisation of Holly Golightly. We only get to know her through people who know her and that makes her so much more interesting. As a reader, you never really know what she's thinking or the reasoning behind some of her bizarre behaviour. But just like the narrator, 'Fred', we can't help be obsessed with her. Throughout the story, her darker tendencies come to light and you can't help but try and puzzle together who exactly this remarkable woman is.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS CLASSIC
The thing about this short story is that it makes you think so many things! Though only about a 100 pages long, there are so many complicated layers to it.
The first thing I thought was: "Huh. This isn't at all like the movie." With an insinuated gay Fred and a Holly Golightly whom isn't as sweet and soft as Audrey's version, this book has a very different tone. This is not a love story. This is the story of an author observing, and slowly becoming obsessed, with a girl who lives in his apartment building. They are somewhat friends, but even that is probably a stretch - they're just at the same place at the same time.
The second thought was how much more I loved this Holly Golightly. She has so many more layers and is way harder to figure out. Though on the surface, she is the sweet and charming Holly that makes everyone fall in love with her, there is a very dark undertone in her story. It becomes clear that she's not all that she seems and as a reader you leave the story wondering what ever happened to her before the story and what will happen after the story. She's impossible to figure out and I absolutely love that! A complex, layered female character - hallelujah!
Another thing you can't help but notice is Capote's amazing writing in this story. After you finish, you feel like you observed so much information that you've read a complete novel instead of a short novella and this is due to his powerful writing. It's poetic, beautiful, easy to read and there is not a word wasted. He uses just the perfect vocabulary to layer every single sentence and to put as much meaning as possible into every single word. I love Capote's writing generally (In Cold Blood will forever be one of my favourite books), but it really is remarkable here in its effortless that must have taken hours to complete. As a writer, you can't help but see Breakfast at Tiffany's as an amazing school for writing.
WILL IT STAY A CLASSIC
This is a hard one. I'm sure the movie will forever stay a classic due to the starpower of Audrey Hepburn. Capote as a writer will always stay a classic too due to his extravagant life and the constant rumours about his downfall leading from In Cold Blood. But this short story? It already seems more like a myth than a story people actually read. I think it should stay a classic, but I'm not sure that it will stand the test of time. It's already overshadowed by the movie (with so many people telling me they didn't even know it was a book, I can't help but to be sure of that) and I don't see how that will ever change.
However, I hope it stays a classic. It deserves to be and I hope that more people will read the book and appreciate the beauty of it separately from the movie.
WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO
I'm a Capote fangirl, so basically EVERYONE. However, if I do have to be more specific, I think people who love NYC will love this story and everyone who wants a strong female character. Hollywood Holly might be tied down to Fred at the end of the movie, Capote's Holly can't settle down at all and keeps roaming free the way she wants to. As is said in the book: "If you let yourself love a wild thing, you'll end up looking at the sky."'