Like most children, I went to lots of department stores and home stores with my mother. She was always looking at bone china teacups and crystal brandy glasses and I was always wondering what the use of all this stuff was. To me it all looked like unnecessary bits and bobs just to fill up empty spaces in your house so that people didn’t think you were poor and everything was pretty. I didn’t understand the need for a candelabra, or a fruit bowl with fake jewelled fruit, or a glass vase with swirly patterns running through it. But what I particularly didn’t understand was the need for a picture of white woman wearing a black dress, dark glasses and a necklace made of pearls, hanging up on somebody’s wall. I deemed her unnecessarily annoying and one of the most irrelevant ‘bits’ somebody could have in their house.
I got a little older and discovered that this woman was Audrey Hepburn and that she was an actress and that that picture was in fact a still from a movie called Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I got a little more older and discovered it was initially a book written by Truman Capote and told myself what a lot of us do, “I’ll put that on my list/I’ll get round to reading it/I’ll buy it next week”.
It’s now the last day of April in 2015 and I have finally read the book. I don’t understand. I waited all this time to read a story about a lost soul? Yes, Capote’s writing drew me into Holly Golightly’s strange little world. Yes, although I have nothing in common with her lifestyle, I felt as though her wondering mind and naivety is a reflection of mine. And of course I felt like Audrey Hepburn was perfect to play the role, no wonder they cast her. But I think what annoyed me about it is the fact that I finished it and I had a feeling of – is that it?
I wanted something more. I know a lot of people feel that this book is a classic but it didn’t seem that way to me. I liked it. It is a well written piece of work, the characters were interesting, the situations were funny and sad but that’s it. Usually when I read a good book I put it down and feel as though I need a moment to come back from that world and re-enter mine but I didn’t feel that way. Maybe it’s because the book was written and set in a time which I cannot relate to or maybe it’s because it’s just an okay book. Now I don’t want to bore you with all the details of the book and the characters because it’s been read and reviewed a million times, I just think that all that contributed to this feeling.
Perhaps part of the reason I have that feeling is down to my expectation surrounding it. I think I was so overexposed to the idea of the book and the images of the film that the whole thing just lost its magic for me and I’ve come away feeling underwhelmed. I don’t think everybody with a still of Audrey Hepburn on their walls really fully believes it’s a classic and that they love the movie or the book. I think sometimes we just think things are because other people before us thought they were. Some may have her on their walls because they love her as an actress. But ask them if they’ve seen Roman Holiday, Sabrina or Funny Face and you might get met with blank stares.
I don’t think there’s anything more to say on this just that overall, I did like Breakfast at Tiffany’s I suppose. It was nice.