When you first start biblio-blogging, it all looks like a huge candy store. So much to read, so much to comment on, so much to write about. Reading challenges are particularly attractive to me so I finally signed up for one – 1% Well-Read Challenge – some weeks ago but have yet to post a review. The clock is ticking so I picked up the first of my choices this past week.
The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. Realized going through the list that I had never read Breakfast at Tiffany’s or anything else by Truman Capote. Lovely, sad, and in many ways, quite a bit different than the movie.
The novella, in part, details a struggle between a desire for freedom and a desire for a place to belong. Holly Golightly is a self-defined traveler and wild thing, defending the right of both human and animal to live outside the cage. Yet she also desires to live as a family again with her brother, Fred, and hopes for a child and marriage with her South American boyfriend. The narrator exists adrift in the text, nameless and without job security yet he craves home and literary success.
Derogatory slang of the time aside, the text offers a subtle and interesting view into how sexuality can be both freeing and limiting as well. Holly practices a measure of self-deception in not equating the money she receives from men she has “banged” with prostitution. She views it rather as given with at least the illusion of love, and as a means to an end – her continued freedom to exist as she chooses outside the rules and expectations of others. Capote’s depictions of the gay men within the work are also defining moments as they reflect both the social constrictions of the time and Capote's suggested possibility that asexual unions, freed from the burden and unpredictability of desire, can yield a purer form of love or devotion.
Fragile and lovely. Sad and empowering. Thoughtful rhythmical read for those interested in a struggle to live outside the box where the unattainable - breakfast at Tiffany’s - exists as the ideal.