“‘Right up until the last minute Doc thought I was going to go with him. Even though I kept telling him: But, Doc, I’m not fourteen any more, and I’m not Lulamae. But the terrible part is (and I realized this while we were standing there) I am. I’m still stealing turkey eggs and running through the brier patch. Only now I call it having the mean reds…Never love a wild thing…That was Doc’s mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.'”
Reading Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s felt like attending a Liza Minnelli concert. I knew the voice, the presence, but it just wasn’t right. It’s not right because I saw Judy Garland first. Or in this case, the film adaptation. (Yes, I realize the chronology of my metaphor is questionable. Bugger off.) I kept seeing Audrey Hepburn while I was reading, knowing she was the only possible casting choice, the only woman alive who was capable of bestowing Holly with some believability, but…not entirely, because Holly is only a concept, even to herself. I kept inserting the film’s forced romance, standby glamour and changed ending which were not real, were created by Blake Edwards, Henry Mancini and George Axelrod so we could handle it, so we wouldn’t cry, at least not in the way they didn’t want us to.
And yet I can’t blame them. I feel differently about this novel to film adaptation than any other. They are two different languages, but they can be spoken and comprehended simultaneously without a translator.
Because Holly is bigger than Truman Capote or Audrey Hepburn. She is a universe, and any observations provided, no matter how misconstrued or dim-witted, must be accepted. They must be accepted so we can imagine getting closer to her. So, like Doc, we can pretend she never ran away.