Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Truman Capote
We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)
(5) Tree Line
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a little deceptive since it seems like a pretty easy read. It's short, there aren't a lot of characters in the story, and the action pretty much takes place in one setting. And it doesn't take long to get caught up in the whirlwind and excitement of Holly's life and to take the novel at face value because of that fun (in fact, Capote was criticized by some for writing such fluff).
But if we take the time to dig a little deeper, we see that there are some pretty major issues being thrown around throughout the course of the story. The novel challenges us to think about what it means to be in love, what it is to be someone's true friend, and what it means to be loyal – all questions that aren't easily answered. Breakfast at Tiffany's also presents us with a protagonist who we might not like very much (or at all), which presents another challenge to us as readers. Holly uses derogatory language to talk about gay people (even though she seems to be open and accepting of people's sexuality). She doesn't really ever think about other people's feelings. And as much as we might want her to finally settle her life a little and to form a lasting relationship with someone (anyone really), she never does. How are we supposed to feel at the end of the story then if we're not big fans of Holly?
For all of these reasons, Breakfast at Tiffany's is a little more challenging than we might first realize. But this doesn't mean it's not worth giving the novel a shot. In fact, we think this is what makes the novel pretty cool. It gives us the chance to flex our intellectual muscles a little and to come up with our own answers about the novel's meanings, and that doesn't sound like fluff to us at all.