Book Club: Breakfast At Tiffany's: In which we discuss the book and the movie

Book Synopsis:
With her tousled blond hair and upturned nose, dark glasses and chic black dresses, Holly Golightly is top notch in style and a sensation wherever she goes. Her brownstone apartment vibrates with martini-soaked parties as she plays hostess to millionaires and gangsters alike. Yet Holly never loses sight of her ultimate goal - to find a real life place like Tiffany's that makes her feel at home. Immortalized in a film starring Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is full of sharp wit and in its exuberant cast of characters vividly captures the restless, slightly madcap era of early 1940s New York.

So who hasn't heard of Breakfast at Tiffany's?  More likely one would either be familiar with Truman Capote's novella of which the movie was based on.  The movie starred the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn and the dashing George Peppard with more people probably remembering to watch rather than reading the book.  Mention the heroine's name, Holly Golightly and the iconic image of Audrey Hepburn wearing a gorgeous black dress, sunglasses on, with her blonde streaked hair in front of the equally famous Tiffany's would come to mind.  
The movie and the book are totally different despite sharing the same main lead.  Opinions abound about which is better.  So one sunday afternoon, we decided to hold our book club around this controversial yet beloved story.  Warning, it was a sunday so forgive our less than polished blog post, everyone was busy doing other stuff while chatting :)


One Sunday afternoon:

Pugsy:

so everyone finished the book
and watched the movie?


Rush:
I read the book
But couldn't finish re watching the movie.

Pugsy:
thats okay we all watched the movie for the actors anyway

Rush:
I know. George Peppard *drools*
And she's delicious :)

Rowena:
i like the book more hehehe

Rachie:
lol

Rowena:
or maybe i'm just drawn to lingering sad endings


Pugsy:
as expected Mer is the nonconformist!
so what did we like about the book

Rush:
I liked the book too. But the movie was just so lovely.

Rowena:
the film is too pretty hehe. like cookie cutter


Rachie:
Agree with the movie being pretty

Rush:
For me the strangest part was how the two were so alike and yet so fundamentally different

Pugsy:
agree me being in love with the young George Peppard and wanted to look like Audrey

Rowena:
hahaha


Pugsy:
yes! exactly, the book for me was much grittier, not so polished


Rowena:
what a drool worthy nice specimen of a writer

Rush:
I mean you hear all the same dialog but the feeling you have from the book is so different


Pugsy:
and the writer character was more friend


Rush:
The book definitely showed the seamy side of her character. The movie glosses over that.


Rachie:
Drool worthy writer indeed



Rush:
Oh yes, there's no romance in the book at all. Whereas the movie makes it very romantic.

Pugsy:
there was a lot of controversy when the movie was shown
Truman Capote sold the rights and so had no say


Rush:
In the book he kind of is friend zoned and loves her from a distance.


Rowena:
the book reminds me of Phillip Roth's the animal, that nostalgic telling of story about a woman. or probably rather Roth could have been inspired by capote.

Pugsy:
Yes definitely friend, and some reviewers say the writer character was gay

Rush:
I don't feel the movie was true to the book at all.
Oh wow. I didn't know that.

Rachie:
driving brb!


Rowena:
there's a possibility the book-hero was a bisexual 

Pugsy:
@_@ why is rachie driving


Rush:
You think that's why they introduced the rich woman keeping him character?
To avoid all such speculation?


Rowena:
cause he says he is also in love with a postman at some point in the past 

Pugsy:
yes i think so rush, I mean why introduce the kept man concept at all

Rush:
Agree
But I also feel there was a second reason for that.

Pugsy:
but if we compare movie holly and book holly, they have the same framework but presented in a different manner



Rush:
They wanted to make his character on par with hers


Rowena:
maybe the kept man conundrum is to sort of level the playing field cause holly was well we all know how she goes around

Pugsy:
so kept man and kept woman equalizes it?


Rush:
Like she's a kept woman (or whatever the word would be) and he's a kept man. So morally they are on the same ground.
Haha. Exactly! 


Rowena:
or else movie goers would just probably say, he doesn't deserve her cause she's a bitch


Rush:
Yes!


Pugsy:
the thing that bugs me about the movie was compared to the book, Holly is still waiting for prince charming to save her while book Holly was more survivor, a free spirit unshackled by convention


Rush:
Well book holly does change later in the book.


Rowena:
and to make them end up each other, holly-movie veers away from the her selfishness to actually genuinely love someone


Rush:
When she's hoping the Jose guy will redeem her and marry her.

Pugsy:
yes true when she was trying to be conventional she gets disappointed

Rush:
But I'm not sure I would call holly selfish in the conventional sense of the word.

Pugsy:
no she's more free spirit

Rush:
Being a woman i'd call her a free spirit

Rowena:
caged love i think is what she thinks

Rush:
What do you mean by caged love?

Rowena:
she seems to think love is a cage of sorts, the book-holly
hence the cage analogy


Rush:
Aah yes.

Pugsy:
but i think she really wanted to be loved and just pretends that love is something that will cut off her wings so to speak


Rush:
I think if she were a man we wouldn't even be making these judgements.

Pugsy:
uhuh, but the book is written from a male perspective, but a male who loves her so there is that feeling of respect still

Rush:
She's looking for love definitely. But maybe where she started out in life and where she wants to be are so different that she can't put one aside for the other.

She wants love but she can't give up the security or the lifestyle for it.

Pugsy:
I mean she was barely twenty in the book
and she's really been around


Rush:
Agree pugsy. The tone of the book isn't judgmental at all.
But the movie tried to tone down that aspect of her personality.
They were probably scared of the audience reaction.


Rowena:
for me the book is more like capote trying to capture a time, an unforgettable past when he meets a rather special woman and even after, he's never the same again.

Rush:
Hence the stronger focus on the romance.

Pugsy:
so definitely two different stories with one similar framework

Rush:
Agree. There's a very nostalgic feel to it. Like remembering this golden era in your life. Which you keep wishing would come back n


Rowena:
and like what book-holly said, he fell in love with a wild thing and so he ended up looking up at the sky

Pugsy:
the book was published in 1958 but the time period in the book was around early 1940's cause her brother died in the war


Rowena:
and like what OJ says of her, she just gives you horse shit on platter or something lol
where's rachennie lol

Pugsy:
@_@ she's driving


Rush:
I think OJ has trouble understanding her. Like all the men in her life he's ensnared/captivated by her but can't understand her at all!

Pugsy:
YES! exactly rush, they see the hype and they believe it


Pugsy:
i think this is a first in book club, one member is off driving somewhere

Rush:
Lol. And now from the view from the road....


Rowena:
hahahaha
one for the road~



Rush:
So what's the conclusion? Book or movie?
Or are they so different that you can't really pick one over the other?


Pugsy:
i would pick movie for the romance, but the book definitely hands down better
*I'm Sorry Audrey and George, I still love you*


Rowena:
the movie has that postcard feel for new york
and it's really visually stunning


Rachie:
Hmmmmmmm i like the book than the movie
though the movie is pretty and there's romance



Rowena:
audrey makes holly at bit more forgiving
cause in the book, it's like hot and cold with readers i'm sure

yes plus romance



Rush:
I agree. The written story is far more gritty and has a deeper impact on ones emotions. There's no gloss or glitter. And holly is an amazing character. And the book is all about her. No one else. It's a homage to a free bird.


Pugsy:
I think thats why she was cast, Audrey as Holly gives the character that innocence, that book Holly doesn't have


Rush:
Agree. I love the movie too but it's not about the book at all.
To me they're two completely different stories.

Pugsy:
There was one thing that the movie made everyone who watched it do, which was read the book  :)


Rowena:
i heard capote didn't really prefer audrey for the role?

Rachie:
yep

Pugsy:
he wanted marilyn monroe

Rush:
Oh really? Who did he want?

Rachie:
Wanted monroe

Pugsy:
which made me scratch my head


Rush:
Ummm. Audrey owns the movie holly.

Pugsy:
cause aside from the blonde thing
holly doesn't really fit marilyn

but Truman had a crush on her I think


Rush:
I can't see anyone else pulling it off. Not Marilyn for sure.


Rowena:
he thought the film made it pretty instead of rich and ugly


Rush:
Aah. That explains it. Boys will be boys.

Rowena:
the feel of the movie

Rush:
Oh yes the film is very very pretty.
Not at all like the book.

Pugsy:
I would kill for Audrey's wardrobe though

Rush:
I'd kill to look like her :)

Pugsy:
well that too but I would settle for the wardrobe and George


Rowena:
was her sofa, a broken tub with one wall pulled down?

Pugsy:
Yes, it looked like a broken bathtub, but she had no furniture in the apartment, book Holly that is

Rush:
But I've also realized Audrey is much more a woman's actress.
Men don't get the hots for her in general.
Oh yeah, George works for me. 

Rowena:
ah there's a saying to that rush

Rush:
So maybe Truman couldn't see so many men falling over Audrey. Whereas clearly Marilyn would have men falling in heaps.
Yeah they prettified the apartments also.

What saying ?


Rowena:
i forgot the quote, something like audrey, someone men don't really desire or something

Rush:
Yup. Women adore her. Men, not so much.

Rowena:
that's about the gist of that quote. 


Rush:
So what else? I found the visit from Doc rather sad.
And the book showed it better.
But in the movie you get why he would've fallen for this waif like girl.

Pugsy:
had to walk puppy
i found doc creepy @_@
like she was fourteen and knew her since she was thirteen and married her?!

Rush:
But surprisingly doesn't come across as a dirty old man.
Though it is eww when you really think of it.

Pugsy:
no not a dirty old man, more like opportunistic male

Rush:
Oh yes. Definitely opportunistic.

A homage to Lolita maybe? 

Pugsy:
well since it was a male POV throughout by the way
we won't really know



Rachie:
yea that was creepy, and she had kids! The movie didn't say that the kids weren't hers
i was like huuuh? When i first watched the movie and not having read the book

Rush:
The movie does say they weren't hers.

Rowena:
honestly i didn't really get the '50 dollars for powder room change'
what is that?

Pugsy:
oh in the old days
like forties and fifties
women are given powder room change
supposedly to give to the powder room attendant

Rush:
Clearly a nice euphemism...


Rowena:
oh hahaha~ 


Rush:
Or a convenient one.

Pugsy:
its also symbolic that she uses men for money

Rush:
Symbolic in what way?

Pugsy:
usually when men give women not their wives money its already sexual in nature girlfriend or mistress
but in Holly's case, if you give her powder room money it doesn't mean she'll be in bed with you for it; if she wants too maybe


Rush:
Oh right. Of course. 

Pugsy:
but she can still say no, but you are still expected to give her 50$

Rush:
She doesn't feel obligated to follow through.
Very much her own woman.

Pugsy:
yup for her its a right you give her money for her company
that's why Jose is so important a secondary character, he represented the normal life

Rush:
So does that show a high self esteem? Or does the very nature of her life contradict that?

Pugsy:
a life away from what she had


Rowena:
i wonder as well if the cat at the end of the book about finding another home, that the writer didn't get to care for it instead
if somehow a bit symbolic about him and holly

Pugsy:
the book is really complex, as complex as the character of Holly


Rush:
Agree pugsy.
Mer do you mean he moved on from her?

Pugsy:
the author is no wiser to who Holly really is

Rush:
So agree pugsy.


Rowena:
i mean not him moving on per se, just that holly finding a home somewhere else and not him


Pugsy:
*okay ordering burgers* *this book club is so out of the ordinary*


Rush:
Or does his keeping the cat meant he was holding on to whatever part of holly he could?

Pugsy:
agree on both points


Rowena:
that too is possible
i mean he did bring that cage wherever he went after


Rush:
Wow the more I discuss the more the complexity hits me.
Oh right. I forgot about the cage.


Pugsy:
oh definitely complex,


Rush:
My phone is down to 10% charge.
I'm trying to figure out how you will concert this to a blogpost.

Pugsy:
lots of editing!
so can someone round it up while I order burgers?

Rush:
So we all think the book was grittier and more complex and didn't try to gloss over Holly's true nature and lifestyle.

And we love the book. Makes us think. A lot

The movie is loved because the romance is so
Incredibly pretty.
In fact everything in the movie is pretty. Almost too pretty. But I'll buy it because of that.


Rachie:
burgers!
oh round it up


Rowena:
lol burgers is all she remembers



Rush:
Yup!
Lol


Rowena:
me want burger too


Rachie:
hahahaha i'm hungry! I've been chasing my nephew
and he made me carry him so i got hungry

So round up, you guys made me realize just how complex it was and made me love the book even more
of course the movie is awesome too in a different way


Rowena:
ok movie is visually stunning, audrey hepburn made it classy and iconic. it became a feel-good film focused on romance, a dapper writer hero and a romantic rain scene at the end. book is nostalgic in nature, gritty with a rich flavor, bittersweet. 

Pugsy:
round up: So the movie will always be one of my favorites more so because for Hollywood the character of Holly Golightly and writer guy was not run of the mill, sanitized but not ordinary.  The book on the other hand, its definitely hands down, well, more developed.  A complex character as Holly told from a male viewpoint that is not condescending, but in fact viewed in an almost matter of fact light that, this is who she is and is not apologetic about it and she is loved always loved.


*And I will always love the movie because of the actors chemistry*














Comments

  1. Oh my gawd, I'm going batshit. Even the burgers took a spot. Hahaha!

    ReplyDelete

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