Thursday, September 4, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Summary (from Goodreads):
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, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, 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 department', and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

About the Author
Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Capote remained prolific producing both fiction and non-fiction. His masterpiece, In Cold Blood, a story about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, was published in 1966 in book form by Random House, became a worldwide success and brought Capote much praise from the literary community. After this success he published rarely and suffered from alcohol addiction. He died in 1984 at age 59.


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3rd book for The Classics Club

Edition Read: 
Overdrive library .epub

Bit of Background:
I grabbed this one from the library because I wanted to read it and thought that my Capote book was In Cold Blood. When I actually went and checked my blog I realized I had gotten it backwards. ^^;
I've seen the movie a number of times, not a whole lot, but enough that the book did jog my memory.

Thoughts:
It's really hard to read this and not compare it to the movie.
I will admit, blasphemous though it may be, I like the movie better.

 It just boils down to me not buying into book-Holly. I found her completely unlikable and can not understand why all the characters were falling all over themselves for her. I did understand her and "Fred's" friendship, but no one else. Audrey Hepburn made her believable.

Verdict: 
5/10
I might recommend this only if you haven't seen the movie. Then, and only then, would I insist that you watch the movie immediately after. Or just go watch the movie.
It gets a 5 because it was readable and even not liking it – it was well written. Credit, where credit is due- I will likely read Capote again.

Minor Quibbles:
No chapter breaks!

The book manages to be generally more offensive than the movie. It was written in the late 1950s and set in the 1940s, so a lot of derogatory slurs and weird slang get thrown around. It fits the time period, I just felt like giving a warning to anyone who didn't know. 
Incidentally, the depiction of Mr. Yunioshi is much more modern than the movie. In the book, he could have been any ethnicity and it would not have changed the book at all. 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Summary (from Goodreads):
Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote more than forty books, none remains so popular as her miraculous and magical masterpiece, The Secret Garden. Has any story ever dared to begin by calling its heroine, “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen” and, just a few sentences later, “as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived?” Mary Lennox is the “little pig,” sent to Misselthwaite Manor, on the Yorkshire moors, to live with her uncle after her parents die of cholera. There she discovers her sickly cousin Colin, who is equally obnoxious and imperious. Both love no one because they have never been loved. They are the book’s spiritual secret gardens, needing only the right kind of care to bloom into lovely children.

Mary also discovers a literal secret garden, hidden behind a locked gate on her uncle’s estate, neglected for the ten years since Colin’s birth and his mother’s death. Together with a local child named Dickon, Mary and Colin transform the garden into a paradise bursting with life and color. Through their newfound mutual love of nature, they nurture each other, until they are brought back to health and happiness.

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(2nd book for The Classics Club)
 Edition Read:
Barnes and Noble Classics Series (ebook) - $4.49
(Grabbed this one when they were offering up several B&N classic nookbooks for free.) 
This book is in the public domain*. You can grab it for free at:
-The Patricia Clark Memorial Library on MobileRead .epub .mobi
-Girlebooks
 *Public Domain in the United States. If you are in another country, please check your country's public domain laws before downloading. Thanks! :)

Bit of Background :
This one was (sort of) a cheat book for me.
Back when I was in the 4th or 5th grade (circa 1993-1995), I became obsessed with this book. I watched all the movies/tv specials (including that weird one where Mary and Colin aren't cousins and they get married when they are older). I used to take this key to the china cabinet and wear it on a string around my neck because it looked like what I imagined the key looked like. I'm not entirely sure why I liked it so much. I don't like gardening – never have. Maybe the idea of just having a really secret place all my own. Who knows.

Thoughts:
That said... It's kind of hard to review something I read several times (and was obsessed with for an entire year). Granted, it has been a while, well over a decade, since I had previously read it. So I'm just going to jot down what sticks out in my mind.

 -Excellent characterization. The characters are very well fleshed out. You might not like all of them (especially Colin starting out), but for the most part they feel real.
-Lovely backdrops. The descriptions of the setting is amazing. Burnett is a master at bringing them to life.
 -A very quick book, but it doesn't feel rushed.

Verdict:
10/10
It still maintains much of the magic and charm it did back then. A very lovely book. Highly recommended to all.

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