Book Club Friday: Fifth Avenue, 5am

9 Sep

Today I’ll be singing the praises of Fifth Avenue, 5am by Sam Wasson.
From Amazon:
Audrey Hepburn is an icon like no other, yet the image many of us have of Audrey—dainty, immaculate—is anything but true to life. Here, for the first time, Sam Wasson presents the woman behind the little black dress that rocked the nation in 1961.

The first complete account of the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. reveals little-known facts about the cinema classic: Truman Capote desperately wanted Marilyn Monroe for the leading role; director Blake Edwards filmed multiple endings; Hepburn herself felt very conflicted about balancing the roles of mother and movie star.

With a colorful cast of characters including Truman Capote, Edith Head, Givenchy, “Moon River” composer Henry Mancini, and, of course, Hepburn herself, Wasson immerses us in the America of the late fifties before Woodstock and birth control, when a not-so-virginal girl by the name of Holly Golightly raised eyebrows across the country, changing fashion, film, and sex for good. Indeed, cultural touchstones like Sex and the City owe a debt of gratitude to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

In this meticulously researched gem of a book, Wasson delivers us from the penthouses of the Upper East Side to the pools of Beverly Hills, presenting Breakfast at Tiffany’s as we have never seen it before—through the eyes of those who made it. Written with delicious prose and considerable wit, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. shines new light on a beloved film and its incomparable star.

My thoughts:
I was perusing Hudson Booksellers at the Seattle airport on Tuesday (looking for candy not books) when I spotted this gem.  A fan of the movie, the cover caught my eye and I had to pick it up.  It went on the plane with me (as did a bag of frosted animal cookies and the latest O Magazine) and I immediately got to reading.

Wasson gives you plenty of background information – on Hepburn, Capote, Edwards and anyone else who influenced the film.  It was fascinating to learn how it all came together, from who inspired Capote’s creation of Holly Golightly to everything that went into Tiffany & Co allowing filming to take place in their store.  I wasn’t aware that Marilyn Monroe was ever considered for the part, I think having her in the lead role would have made for an entirely different experience.

I have never read Capote’s novella that inspired the film, so don’t be surprised to see that pop up on a Book Club Friday some time soon.  As it turns out Capote’s Golightly was much more scandalous than the film’s Golightly, sounds like good reading to me!

If you are a fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn, or 50s and 60s film in general I recommend this book.  At 207 pages, it makes for a very easy read.

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3 Responses to “Book Club Friday: Fifth Avenue, 5am”

  1. Heather September 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Would you believe I’ve never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s?! I need to change that stat. Then read this book.

  2. K. September 10, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    A must read! Holly of the book is indeed more scandalous with quite colourful language. It is more of a novella than a book so it is quite quick to read.

  3. [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Cool read! I *still* need to watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s. *shakes head*

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