In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn's dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and "the shore." She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.
Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey's iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she's not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she's faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she's become and who she once was.
In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
About the Author
MITCHELL KRIEGMAN has been published in The New Yorker, The National Lampoon, New York Press, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar. A winner of four Emmy Awards and a Directors Guild Award, he was also a writer for Saturday Night Live. Kriegman was the creator of the classic groundbreaking television series Clarissa Explains It All, as well as the executive head writer on Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, and Doug.
Read an Excerpt
It all started with that little black dress.
Yeah, I mean the little black dress—the wickedly fabulous, classic, fashion perfection Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn wore to brilliance in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Right in front of me was the dress dreams were made of.
“Let me try it on, please, please, please,” I begged Jess.
“No way,” she said. “I’ll get fired.”
Jess was already the special projects assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, otherwise known as the Met. It was kind of a glorified grunt and gofer position but a real foot in the door at the museum, and like me she was only nineteen. That was just one of her jobs. Jess attended fashion-design school all day, worked the Met at night, and waited tables with me at “the Hole” on weekends.
Determined to design her own line of clothing before she turned twenty-five, she’d always known what she wanted to do—like the way she “came out” in tenth grade and never looked back. Considering she was an absolute genius with fabric, scissors, and a sewing machine and the most responsible, goal-oriented person on the planet, let alone anywhere near where we lived in South End Montclair, New Jersey, I had no doubt she’d pull it off.
“You won’t get fired,” I pleaded and gave her my saddest, most pathetic, BFF, puh-leese let me try on the most spectacular dress in existence face.
“Nobody’s here but you and me. It’s the least you can do for dragging me out on a sweaty Friday night in July to sort a bunch of broken pottery fragments from the ancient Nile while all the Park Avenue princesses and baby moguls whoop it up downstairs.” We could hear the party from the main galleries below: popping corks and clinking champagne glasses, the opulent uppity classes murmuring obscene nothings to one another in their preppy Manhattan tones at another over-the-top celebutante gala.
Jess was the only person in the world besides my Nan who had any idea what a big deal that dress was to me. Breakfast at Tiffany’s wasn’t just my favorite movie ever, it was my jam, my mantra, my addiction, the one thing that got me through all the crap at home.
Unless you live in a cave, I know you’ve seen it. I don’t know if anything more perfect has ever existed on film. The pearls! The tiara! That dress! Really, what would you give to live for one day in a world where it would be perfectly normal to wear a little tiny tiara without looking like a runner-up in the Miss Hackensack pageant?
To think that this scrawny girl who came from nothing could become a fabulous socialite with mobsters and writers and photographers and millionaires falling all over themselves for her. New York City in 1961 was cooler and more wonderful than it is today, so full of possibilities. All the men Holly knew turned out to be rats, of course. Or super-rats. Holly was so right. There are so many super-rats out there.
“Please,” I whined. “You know how much I love that movie.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Jess. “That’s why I’m letting you see the dress.”
I gently lifted the dress out of its archival wrapping and held it up. I knew for a fact that Audrey Hepburn and I were almost exactly the same size, 34-20-35, although she always appeared elegant and gamine, where I tended to be more, well … scrawny and boyish. My boobs were smaller—I could maybe hit 32-20-33 if I held my breath and thought Katy Perry.
The black satin was rougher than I expected. It had a hip-length slit on the left side and was accompanied by a pair of elbow-length gloves in a tinted plastic bag pinned to the satin padded hanger inside the box.
This was the mystery dress that everybody swore existed, but almost nobody had ever seen or touched, Givenchy’s hand-stitched original design. I wondered if the delicate smell of the fabric was something from the preservation, though I secretly hoped it was a tiny bit of leftover Audrey Hepburn perfume.
“You’re such a stalker,” Jess whispered. “Be supercareful. That’s like a million-dollar dress.”
“Actually, 923,187 dollars. The highest auction price ever received for a dress made for a film at the time. And this one might be worth even more.” I sighed and held the dream dress up to my body.
She took a deep breath and looked me in the eye.
“Okay,” she said. “Try it on. But just for a minute.”
Copyright © 2014 by Mitchell Kriegman
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Being Audrey Hepburn is a fun little novel with a lot of heart. The concept is very cute, and I loved many things about it. It's a nice contemporary read, especially for those of us who are very fond of Audrey and her films. It's a unique spin on the usual coming-of-age novels. A large topic in the novel involves taking control of your own life and deciding what it is you want to do. Lisbeth initially struggles between what is wanted and expected of her and what she learns she'd like to pursue. I loved this as part of novel, as it is so easy to relate to for many teenagers who feel pressured to live up to expectations and/or decide what they want to do with their live. This, along with her quirkiness and excitement, makes Lisbeth a likeable character...despite the fact that she doesn't always make the best of decisions. (Of course, the times were she can get a bit self-absorbed or in her own little world is probably more authentic when it comes to teenagers than other traits.) I did like the relationships between characters, and thought they felt true-to-life. Lisbeth had a lot of problems with her family, but they also were important to her. Some friendships and relationships were lasting while some were fleeting. People helped each other and people hurt each other. It wasn't forced or unbelievable. In fact, even the rush into fame felt realistic. Speaking of which, I absolutely loved the glamor described within the fashion industry and socialite connections. In a sense, it's like a new world that's brought to life through the novel. Which is very cool. The emphasis on fashion and the altered dresses Lisbeth wore were great to read about, and the opening scene at the Met was one of my favorites, just for that reason. Some parts of the story toward the middle did move a bit slow compared to the rapid ending, but the characters and dialogue still made it enjoyable, all the way to the satisfying end. Being Audrey Hepburn really is a fun read, and I can easily recommend it to contemporary fans.
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. "Being Audrey Hepburn" is perfectly marvelous, darlings! ;) Mitchell Kriegman spins a charming and inspired tale full of mischief, romance, and to-die-for fashion! Seriously well done on the fashion descriptions. I think a lot of authors get caught up in the mundane details of what the characters are wearing. But this felt like Kriegman was painting a fashion masterpiece with the words. Lisbeth makes for a great MC. She’s totally adorable and an easily relatable gal trying to find her voice and her way in the world. I have to say the story was surprisingly unpredictable in some ways which made for a total breath of fresh air in the genre. My only wish was that her romantic relationships had been a bit more developed. I feel like we missed out on seeing her fall for the guy. The romance was there—I just wasn’t quite as invested as I would have been if the audience had gotten to fall in love along with her. This book is filled to the brim with nods to Audrey, which makes it an absolute dream for her fans. If you love Audrey Hepburn (I know I do), then this one is not to be missed! P.S. This would make for a fun movie. Hope someone options it…
Something I think everyone wishes they could do if only they wouldn't get caught. Great, quick read!