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Breakfast with Tiffany: An Uncle's Memoir Hardcover – June 15, 2005

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wintle, a 40-year-old, gay, obsessive-compulsive New Yorker, rescues his 13-year-old niece, Tiffany, from her Connecticut home, where she fought with her recovering alcoholic mother, associated with delinquents and feared her mother's violent boyfriend. He has lived to tell the tale and does an exceptional job portraying Tiffany as a complex teenager, capable of eliciting sympathy one moment and animosity the next. She drinks, smokes and dabbles in drugs yet sings beautifully, writes poetry and excels in school when she tries; meanwhile, he struggles with his responsibilities as a guardian while trying to maintain his own life and career (he negotiates book-to-film deals). At times, Wintle comes off as a martyr: "I'd turned into a nasty, abusive parent," he writes after a fight with Tiffany. Yet her behavior is sometimes so atrocious, one can't help wondering why he doesn't yell at her more. Wintle is balanced in his portrayal, and glimpses of Tiffany's softer side explain why he has taken her in. The lighthearted tone makes a serious subject amusing, and Wintle is charmingly self-deprecating. Although the ending doesn't tie up all the loose ends, the journey is eye-opening, and anyone who's wondered about the mysterious lives of teenagers will enjoy Wintle's tale. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (June 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Failed-actor-turned-New-York-literary-agent Wintle undertakes the biggest challenge of his life when he agrees to serve as a surrogate single parent to his 13-year-old niece, Tiffany. Since the author of this combination memoir and de facto guide to nontraditional parenting is a self-described gay, obsessive-compulsive "drama Queen (yes, with a capital Q)," the book at first promises to be a madcap romp in an Uncle Mame sort of way but soon becomes something more serious (and interesting) as the author begins revealing heretofore hidden aspects of himself. As for Tiffany, what you see is what you get: she is 13-going-on-30, and her reaction to the word no is to fly into a scenery-chewing, expletive-spewing, door-slamming rage. No wonder one of Wintle's friends coolly observes, "Teenagers are evil, vile creatures." Of course, Wintle would have us believe they're not (well, most aren't), but with Tiffany as Exhibit A, he'll have a hard time convincing most readers of that. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401352243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401352240
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,740,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edwin Wintle has worked as an actor, film agent and lawyer. He lives in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and is currently a trial attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, where he defends the rights of the indigent in both criminal and family courts. Ed is also the author of the essay, "Lay It All Down," which is published in the anthology, "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys," the proceeds from which benefit The Trevor Project, a national GLBTQ suicide prevention hotline. Ed is currently at work on a sequel memoir, a novel, and the screenplay for a psychological thriller. In his little down time, Ed is an avid diver, runner, snowboarder, and traveler. This photo was taken in June, 2014, in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, after a long day of spectacular diving.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Heather J. Chute on June 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is something I've never done before. I actually don't read all that much, and most of what I've read has been in the "classic novel" category. However, I read the article in People Magazine about this book, and went and got it that very evening, (Tuesday, to be exact.) I'm a teacher and so I don't get much down time during the year, but in the summers, I love to stay up late, reading in bed. I can't believe how incapable I was of putting this book down. This is the third night in a row I've been up past 2am reading, and I just finished. I'm no literary critic, or anyone important in that world, but I loved this book! It's so witty and I thought it so fitting that just at the end; in the last 4 lines, I was tearing up because I knew it was ending and I was half-expecting some heart-wrenching last line from Uncle Eddie or "Tiffany" and there was that charming wit again, with a line just as hysterical as the one that begins the book. Perfect! One of the reviews on your back cover says that teenagers will want their own "Uncle Eddy" after reading this book, but I'm 7 years removed from my teens, and I want one! I teach a freshman mentoring class to my high school kids, and now I'm hoping I can somehow fit reading this book into the curriculum. God bless Edwin Wintle for writing this!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Edmond Clement on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book has it all--a true story that grabs you by the gut, plenty of comic moments, and emotional high points that give you a lump in your throat. Wintle tells this compelling tale with wit, insight and a great sense of pacing. I'm recommending this book to everyone, because everyone who's ever been part of a family (I guess that includes all of us) will be able to relate to it. Forget the force-fed Augusten Burroughs/David Sedaris comparisons on the jacket--Wintle's talent need not be clumsily compared to either; it stands on its own.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Smith on July 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It has been a long time since I have felt so passionate about a book. I could not put it down, every time I tried, I kept thinking about Uncle Eddy and Tiffany; I wanted to know what was happening. The anecdotes Wintle shares during his first year living with his 13 year old niece is written with brave, yet painful honesty, as they forge new territory as "parent and child". Wintle brings to light the immense love and frustration one endures when dealing with struggling teenagers. Sadly, the difficulties and life circumstances experienced by Tiffany are very realistic, and yet the sincerity with which they are shared will provide a cathartic connection for others coming of age today.

I highly recommended this Breakfast With Tiffany to parents, teenagers teachers, and anyone else who appreciates a good read. I will be using this book in my high school reading class this fall. I wish I had, had an Uncle Eddy in my life, willing to embrace me during my not so finest hours.

This is the kind of book that turns reluctant readers into lovers of reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robin Swados on July 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Flying in the face of a gay culture in which issues such as child-rearing and putting a child through high school or college often take a backseat to focusing on your pet, your work, and the luxury of child-free vacations, Ed Wintle's BREAKFAST WITH TIFFANY offers a refreshingly unselfish portrait of a gay man no longer young but not quite middle aged, willing to set aside the rituals typical of so many of his gay contemporaries--dinners with friends, occasional visits to the local bar, and career--and instead offer to care for his troubled 13-year-old niece Tiffany when her mother can no longer take care of the girl herself. When the relationship between uncle and niece gestates into that of "father and daughter," tensions, frustrations, and problems of communication inevitably flare up, the details of which are recounted honestly and charmingly by the author, who is forced not only to confront the vicissitudes of his niece's life, but those of his own, permanently altering his point of view. The result is an entertaining and highly readable memoir that is recommended for anyone interested not only in a second-generation AIDS culture in a time of flux, but for anyone thinking about or actually raising a child in a stressful and difficult time in our country's history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Every troubled teen should have an uncle like Uncle Eddy, who cares enough to change his life in extreme ways to take in his 13 year old troubled niece. I hope others reading this book will consider doing something similar to what he did, as oftentimes the only way to really change the course of a life is to remove the teen from the environment that is causing the problems.

I kept reading and reading, although there was something about the writing that was not quite my favorite style. I hate to even say that, as I so admired the author and his honestly and extreme hard work for his niece. The chapters seemed to follow a formula---set up an emotional scene, flash back to what caused it, then flash back further to an event in Eddy's life. Not a bad formula, and skilled writing, but I think the next work by this author will be even better, as he gets more confidence in his writing skills and loosens up a little. Perhaps his OCD shows through a little in his writing---and I can relate!

I am very hopefully for Tiffany, and I bet we will be hearing more from her. I love the fact this isn't presented as a miracle, and right down to the last sentence we see the challenges ahead.

Another element I really liked was the view of a strong extended family, even with their troubles. At times it gets so wearing to hear about awful parents. Eddy's parents sound like loving, caring people (although not perfect, of course!) and the scene where Eddy's father comforts him in crisis really made me cry.

Thanks for the book!
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