‘Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman’ by Sam Wasson

'Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman' by Sam Wasson

As Holly would say: Bon chers amis,

Good morning! Good afternoon! Good day! And welcome to the true story behind ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and the domino effect the movie had on the modern woman by introducing a good girl yet still a prostitute to the big screen – or so the book jacket boasts.

‘… There was always sex in Hollywood, but before ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, only the bad girls were having it.’

I must admit, I always have had ‘un peu petit’ love affair with Audrey Hepburn. I must have read half a dozen biographies on Audrey. She is perfect in that not-perfect way. I even dressed like her for my junior prom … {a prom I attended with my now husband!}

This novel would best be described as an overview; a novel outlining the creation and dissemination of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Sam’s novel is written in a light, conversational way that was easy to flip through right before bed or during a slow moment of the day. I just wish the book was a little more in depth since every time I finished a chapter I wished for just a little bit more. Perhaps this is because I have read several tomes on Audrey, or perhaps I felt this way because I am a detail-oriented person. Or perhaps I am just nosey. Regardless …

I don’t know if I was truly able to grasp how ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ changed the modern woman. I found myself laughing over the lengths the movie studio went to cover up the character Holly’s darker side – probably because of the total lack of shame or off-limits topics in today’s modern film era. And I understand that women at this time just didn’t live a la Holly, but did this movie really change women as whole? This novel just didn’t prove that to me.

Don’t get me wrong this is definitely a book worth reading and a pleasurable read. I am definitely interested in reading more about Truman Capote and his muse, a New York socialite named Babe Paley. But mostly, I sat wishing throughout the entire book that I had read the original ‘B at T’s’ sooooo … I am off now to read Truman’s original. Be in touch soon, my lovelies!

Mille tendresse, Carolann

‘A Vintage Affair’ by Isabel Wollf

'A Vintage Affair' by Isabel Wollf

‘There are some people who say they’re able to ‘compartmentalize’ things, as though it is possible to put negative or distressing thoughts into neat mental drawers to be taken out only at a psychologically convenient time. It’s a beguiling idea, but I’ve never bought it. In my experience, sadness and regret seek into one’s consciousness willy-nilly, or they suddenly leap out at you with a snarl. The only real remedy is time…’

Over the past several months I have learned a lot about friendship. I have learned:

  1. Real friends stay by your side through the good times; better friends stay by your side through the bad times
  2. Mom was right in saying that if I can fill one hand with good, true friends then I am one lucky duck
  3. Sometimes friendship hurts
  4. To forgive is easy; forget impossible

Maybe that is why I was drawn to this novel.

The book cover masquerades as a novel on vintage fashion {which is definitely a part of the novel}, but at it’s core it is a book about friendship, growth, forgiveness and life. And it helped to heal parts of my own injured heart.

The main character, Phoebe, is plagued with grief over the loss of her best friend. She feels responsible. She feels unable to let go. She feels totally unable to move on … {and believe me I can relate.} I felt for her. I read along and wanted to pull her into a embrace and tell her it would all be okay – even when I wasn’t sure it would be for poor Phoebe. Phoebe not only needs to deal with her grief – but a broken engagement, a new career path, and her parent’s divorce. Sure this book sounds depressing – but lovelies it isn’t. This book is hopeful.

As Isabel navigates her readers through Phoebe’s story, and introduces us to vivid and delicate characters … you realize, in the end, it will all actually be okay.

‘The Life and Adventures of Miss Fanny Hill’ by John Cleland

Fanny Hill was a free book I came across on my e-reader. It was written in England in 1748. I figured, English 1748, might be a nice historical read. Or then again … DEFINITELY not!

I mean, wowzers, color me surprised. Honestly, I did not know novels of this sort were allowed to be published in those buttoned-up days {perhaps they were not so buttoned-up??}.  All I know is I sat on my train, blushing. Whatever I may have been expecting, I was definitely not expecting so vivid a story. Fanny, in short, was a prostitute – though not by choice. She, through a letter format, shares her life story in exquisite, specific, honest – yet somehow bordering on innocent – detail.

Fanny begins her tale saying:

‘Truth! Stark, naked truth, is the word; and I will not so much as take the pains to bestow a strip of gauze wrapper on it …’

I guess that should have prepared me. Also, after some further research I learned that the full title of the tale is ‘The Adventures of Miss Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Women of Pleasure’. That probably would have tipped me off had I gotten all the facts.

PS > This book is not for the faint of heart or prude of soul. If you can’t handle a run-of-the-mill romance tale – then you can NOT handle Fanny.

‘If You Have to Cry, Go Outside’ by Kelly Cutrone

'If You Have to Cry, Go Outside' by Kelly Cutrone

‘B*tch: a reflection of people’s lack of creativity & inability to acknowledge & embrace a powerful woman; a woman who won’t comply’

'If You Have to Cry, Go Outside' by Kelly CutroneHave you happened to read Kelly Cutrone’s new book … ‘If You Have to Cry, Go Outside’? Because I just finished it. The premise was all about personal experiences, funny anecdotes, embarrassing mistakes and a call for female empowerment. Some of it made me giggle, for example the rules against wearing wife-beaters. Empowered women can’t wear wife-beaters? Guess I’m out.

However, most of the book really rang true to me. And as corny as it sounds gave me hope, strength and ideas. Maybe because I am a young women looking for strong mentors. Or because I feel powerless or scared at one moment or other, nearly every day of my life. Cutrone urges women to:

‘Gather up your courage like an armful of free clothes.’

To accept that:

‘… some people really hate women in power …’

And reminds women that in order to succeed:

‘… we don’t have to stab each other in the back, we don’t have to take things personally and breakdown when we are criticized, and we don’t have to advance at each other’s expense.’

She speaks of hard work, spirtiualism, fear, sexism, powerlessness, love, motherhood, email, branding, reality, womanhood, and fighting for what you deserve out of life. I don’t know if I buy everything she is selling, but she sure did give me some food for thought, some determination to dream, and courage to remember:

‘Sometimes if you don’t eat others, they will eat you.’

If you decide to read this book, I would love to hear from you, male or female, feminist or traditionalist, ‘lowly’ assistant or ‘big-time’ boss … I am here.

{PS> Dear Kelly Cutrone, I think this book would have been even more terrific with pictures! Next print edition you should add pics. Or release a scrapbook. Thanks a bunch.}

‘The Opposite of Love’ by Julie Buxbaum

Opposite of LoveHave you ever ridden the PATH train?  Well, I do. Everyday. And one never knows what you are going to see. And if you were on the train today around 8am, you would have seen me reduced to tears over this book!  In public … full on crying over a book.

I picked up this book because the main character synopsis on the book jacket reminded me of a friend {and I will not tell you which one to protect her innocence.} I picked this book up because I didn’t have anything left to read and it was on sale at B&N. I didn’t actually think it would be this good.

The writing, the story, the characters – all of it was so real. I felt like I knew Emily, that I could almost sink into her mindset, that I could be her best friend, that I was feeling as she was feeling. I got lost in the story and I became so worried to see the outcome – so much so that I actually leafed ahead {which is something, to be truthful, I do a lot but usually because I get bored with the story not because I was actually stressed about the imaginary characters – like in this case}.

And throughout I laughed:

‘When she says she wants a fag, does Bridget mean she wants to have sex with a gay person?’ Maryann, a tiny raisin of a woman with a red smear of lipstick, asks the rest of my octogenarian book club. ‘Because I think that’s a very offensive term. My grandson is gay.’

‘I didn’t know that. We should set him up with my Walter. He just came out of the closet this last June,’ Shirley says, and grabs a napkin to write down her grandson’s telephone number. Shirley is more prune than raisin, wearing her weight squarely in her middle.

And I cried, but a happy and settled cry:

‘I brought you a present, Grandpa Jack,’ I say, when the nurses stop coming in to check on him, like he has died before he has died. I reach into my bag and take out my tiara. My grandfather smiles at me and motions for me to put it on his head. I balance the tiara on his white tufts of hair, and he transforms into an infant prince. Shriveled, regal, and unafraid.

‘Thanks. Kid. Love. It.’ Each word feels like a victory.’

‘Without asking I take his newsboy cap that has been sitting on the window ledge and put it on my head. It is mine now. I don’t need something tangible like this to hold on to Grandpa Jack, but I allow myself the additional comfort nonetheless…’

It was just a nice, warm, real and refreshingly unpretentious read. And since Julie lives in NYC, I hope to run into her in the streets one day, and then we can share a cup of coffee and she can sign my book. Because she made my morning. And a woman who can feel and write like this is someone I would choose as a friend.