Audrey Hepburn Would Be Ashamed of You: Breakfast at Bloomingdale’s by Kristen Kemp

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What’s it take for a girl to make it in the big city? A sense of humor, a sense of self, and a desire to succeed in fashion. A stylish novel for teen PROJECT RUNWAY and DEVIL WEARS PRADA fans.

Kat’s come to New York City with a dream: to be a big fashion designer and to see her name on a label in Bloomingdale’s. Back in upstate New York, she imagined a city paved in Prada . . . but the reality isn’t quite so fashionable. Still, there are friends to be made, boys to be flirted with, and amazements to be found . . . sometimes when she least expects it. Even when her lame hick boyfriend from back home comes to the city to try to reclaim her, Kat knows she’s found her place . . . now all she has to do is have the place find her back.

Source: GoodReads

There was a period in time a few years ago where there was a mini trend of Audrey Hepburn centric YA books.  This book actually came out a few years before that trend and I had it, and thought…hmm, maybe it’s actually fairly good to have a mini trend inspired by it.

So after sitting on my shelf for almost ten years-yeah, it’s been that long-I decided to give it a whirl and read it.

I only got through about thirty pages in it.  It was that bad.   I almost didn’t even bother writing this brief DNF review over it, that’s how disgusted I was over it.  But since I haven’t had time much to read something that I I’d like to review in the past couple of weeks and this was the closest book I could think of writing a review for…well, it’s getting this brief “Why Audrey Hepburn Would Be Ashamed She’s On the Cover” type of review.

1)  Audrey would not approve of the main character’s nasty attitude:

Seriously, our narrator Junebug/Cat is a POS if there ever was one.  She’s rude and nasty to practically every one.  For example, she calls her mother a heifer (and yes, she’s not exactly a nice person but still HEIFER) and she pretty much gets in a cat fight with your stereotypical “Mean Girl” at her fucking grandmother’s funeral.

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2) Audrey would probably be disgusted that Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the film) is associated with being about Audrey rather than being, you know, a movie.

Yes, I know the movie was one of Audrey’s most iconic roles (though, personally give me SabrinaCharade, My Fair LadyFunny Face, or even Roman Holiday any day over Breakfast at Tiffany’s).  Yes, the fashion in that movie is fantastic, but there are some scenes (like anytime that Mickey Rooney appears) that I just grimace at.  PLUS, it’s completely different than the short story its based on and I think a lot of people forget that when they try to write one of these YA Audrey Hepburn centric books.  Did you know that Capote actually had Marilyn Monroe in mind for the role?

Yeah, probably not.  I get that it’s easy to blend the two things together because it was an iconic role for Audrey-probably because of that Givenchy dress-BUT the movie is NOT about Audrey.  And it seems in all these books pretty much the character is more or less Audrey’s version of Holly Golightly.

3) Audrey would be disgusted with  this character’s problems.

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Seriously, a “mean mother” and a small town full of assholes is nothing to growing up in WW2 Europe and being forced to eat tulip bulbs.  Just saying.

Had I spent more time reading this book, I probably could’ve added more reasons to the list.  It boils down to this though, the book suffers from many problems that late 2000’s Post Mean Girls YA books have.  The tropes are just noxious.  I don’t know why it’s necessary-even these days-to use the Mean Girl trope or for that matter the nasty mother trope.

People are complex.  We have are good days and our bad days. This book just depicts everyone at their worst.  One of the things I like best about Audrey Hepburn movies is that there is a hopeful optimism to them.  This book is devoid of that optimism.  It consists of a sullen, unlikeable character whose only resemblance to Hepburn’s character is Breakfast at Tiffany’s is she has a LBD and uses a fake name.

Overall Rating: DNF.

A Revisit: What Would Lola Wear?

 

When I reread Lola and the Boy Next Door for the Isla Is Coming Readalong that is going on right now, I couldn’t help but be in awe with the amazing descriptions Stephanie Perkins used to describe her main characters fashion sense.  So for this revisit post I decided to fuse it with an old feature of mine called What Would _____ Wear and make some Polyvore sets for Lola.  Here’s the thing though, a lot of Lola couture is hard to find.  So, I’ve had to modify some of the outfits.  Hopefully, I still captured the spirit of these looks.

 

 

Meet Lola

 

Meet Lola by howdyal featuring a round top
 “I’m wearing a tank top. I also got on my giant white Jackie O sunglasses, a long brunette wig with emerald tips, and ballet slippers. Real ballet slippers, not the flats that only look like ballet slippers.” (Perkins, 8-9)
My Interpretation: Polyvore doesn’t have any red Chinese style pajamas.  Believed me, I looked.  In fact, finding pajama bottoms that didn’t look like they were fit for a camping trip or the seedy side of town was quite difficult, but I did eventually manage to find a fairly normal looking pair.  The black ballet flats are unfortunately flats.  But I like them enough where I think they’d be a decent substitute.  Since Stephanie didn’t have a particular description with the tank top, I played around with lots of different tanks before settling on this one.  Surprisingly enough, the easiest thing to find was the glasses.
Strawberry Lola

 

“Today I’m a strawberry. A sweet red dress from the fifties, a long necklace of tiny black beads, and a dark green wig cut into a severe Louise Brooks bob.” (Perkins 44).
My interpretation:  This set was actually fairly easy to put together.  The red dress, unfortunately, is not vintage.  I went for a modern dress with a vintage-y feel from Modcloth.  The shoes were added by yours truly since I just couldn’t see Lola going barefoot.  I almost went for a pair of white shoes until I spotted these strappy sandals.  Something about them just seemed so happy to me.  And let’s face it strawberries are a happy fruit.  Or least that’s the impression I have always gotten from that cartoon.
Lola's Sparkly Look

 

 “I placed a rhinestone barrette in my pale pink wig. I’m also wearing a sequined prom gown that I’ve altered into a minidress, a jean jacket covered with David Bowie pins, and glittery false eyelashes.” (83)
My Interpretation: This was probably one of my favorite looks to put together.  It was just so much fun.  I will admit though, I couldn’t find the eyelashes.  So I substituted them with some earrings.  As for the rest of the outfit it’s pretty much standard to the Stephanie’s description ( I hope).  Ironically, the wig is a My Little Pony wig.  Sort of fitting, given the attitude of the outfit.
Lola's Picnic Date

 

I settle on a similarly checked red-and-white halter dress, which I made form an actual picnic blanket from last Fourth of July. I add bright red lipstick and tiny ant-shaped earrings for theme, and my big black platform boots because walking will be involved.” (Perkins 127).
My Interpretation: I had to include the picnic look because that scene was one of my favorites in the book.  There was a lot of leeway with this outfit though.  For one thing, Polyvore doesn’t have dresses made from actual Picnic blankets and I couldn’t find a red and white dress that I liked with a halter type of neckline.  The dress I did end up choosing, while not being an exact match, had the romantic picnic type feel I wanted for the look.  The thing I’m really happy about is the earrings.  Yes, I was able to find actual ant earrings.  Grant it, they were six hundred bucks but still….ant earrings.
Lola as Lindsey

 

 “Per annual tradition, I’m wearing jeans, a nice blouse, a black wig with straight bangs, and red sneakers.” (Perkins, 210)
My Interpretation:  Lindsey is Lola’s best friend who has a Nancy Drew obsession and is described as being sort of plain.  While I tried to keep true to the Lindsey character in this look, I also thought that there’d be a little Lola peaking out.  Which is why I decided that rather than having a plain button up blouse, I’d use one with a little embroidery that would sort of give it a Lola vibe.
Lola Has Her Cake and Eats It Too

 

 “It’s not my costume, which would make Marie Antoinette proud. The pale blue gown is girly and outrageous and gigantic. There are skirts and overskirts, ribbons and trim, beads and lace. The bodice is also lovely, and the stays fit snugly underneath, giving me a flattering figure-the correct body parts are either more slender or more round. My neck is draped in a crystalline necklace like diamonds, and my ears in shimmery earrings like chandeliers. I sparkle with reflected light.”(Perkins, 319).
My Interpretation: I was actually really scared about this look.  Surprisingly though, it was the easiest one to put together. The gods of Polyvore really were helping me out on this one.  I did make one alteration to the described look.  The cake necklace.  Yeah, I sort of couldn’t help but add it when I saw it. And I’m sure Lola would too.