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The Tiffany Box: A Memoir Paperback – May 1, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

THE TIFFANY BOX IS A MOVING TRIBUTE TO MOTHERHOOD - An early chapter of The Tiffany Box: A Memoir, by Arizona-turned-California author Kathleen Buckstaff, raises the subject of picture day at school. Buckstaff describes her then 4-year-old daughter’s decision to wear a beloved but “tattered, stained sundress” for a photo that will forever document who she was during that year at school. Buckstaff is conflicted. She can’t help being a bit status conscious (“I will look like a bad mother if you wear that dress”) but she also admires her daughter’s spirit and strong sense of individualism. She struggles internally but opts to let it be. Her daughter wears the dress. A similar, courageous act of surrender underlies much of The Tiffany Box, and is the source of its soul-satisfying charm. Buckstaff, in a series of emails to friends, essays she originally published in The Arizona Republic, diary entries, holiday letters and drafts she wrote from 1995 to 2001, puts it all out there, pregnancy warts and all. It is a story of loss–of loved ones, of the illusion of control–that never loses sight of the humor, beauty and joy that can accompany life’s most challenging moments. It is a moving tribute to motherhood, and to the bonds between mother and child that transcend time, temperament and even tragedy. It’s been many years since I’ve made it a priority to carve out enough time in a 24-hour period to truly savor a book. The Tiffany Box left me no choice. From the moment I dove in, I was captivated. The republished essays elicit profound moments of wisdom and generational continuity from seemingly everyday events to which all mothers will relate. Sections where the storytelling is done by email or diary post have a sense of intimacy and urgency that is often painful to read, but leave us wishing we could count ourselves among Buckstaff’s most trusted friends. The book, of course, centers on her relationship with her mother, and the long, slow process of losing her to cancer at the far-too-young age of 59. Buckstaff stored her mother’s papers in her garage, in a blue box from Tiffany & Co. that once housed a celebratory wedding gift. It took some time before Buckstaff felt strong enough to revisit this treasure trove of memories. “I thought I would find death inside the Tiffany box,” she writes. “Instead, I found life." She also found inspiration for a beautiful story that will forever keep her mother’s memory alive. Buckstaff’s memoir premiered as a one-woman play, “The Tiffany Box, A Love Remembered,” at Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale in November 2010. She performed the play to sold-out audiences here, and then in San Francisco and New York City. The enthusiastic response inspired her to expand her story."
--Karen Davis Barr, May 7, 2013 from Raising Arizona Kids Magazine

"Kathleen Buckstaff has a big heart and a truth-telling spirit. She spins an intergenerational story about grandparents, parents and children who are glued together by generosity and love. Her book will sweep you to the center of her family’s joys and tragedies... . The Tiffany Box is just plain wonderful."
--Paola Gianturco, author of Grandmother Power

"A beautifully executed exploration of the human heart—its strength, resiliency and infinite capacity to love."
--Hal Corley, Emmy Award winning writer and playwright

"Embracing both her vulnerability and strength, Kathleen Buckstaff reaches into the soul and opens a precious door that brings to life her grandmother’s truth, “You’ve got to touch to love.” In sharing that truth, Kathleen and The Tiffany Box teach us an ultimate truth, “There was so much pain, because there was so much love.” Elegant. Beautiful. Compelling."
--Rev. Doug Huneke, chaplain and author

"Loved this book! I laughed out loud, I cried and even shared passages with my husband. For anyone who has ever been a mother and/or a daughter, this book will touch your soul and stay with you. Kathleen Buckstaff captures the spirit of motherhood, it’s highs and lows, and takes you on a journey that makes you appreciate life and all it has to offer. I highly recommend this book!"
--Jeanine Thompson, mother

“I have never sobbed after reading the first two pages of a book, and I don't think I have ever finished a book and then started reading it again from the beginning right afterwards. I can't remember a time I read a book and midway through ordered 11 copies to give to people that I know would love it... . It is a spiritual, powerful, sentimental, rip-roaring funny, unique, helpful read. I am deeply appreciative of this book, because it teaches me how I can approach end-of-life situations when I am faced with them. There were countless times in this book when I was laughing and sobbing at the same time. Kathleen Buckstaff exhibits mastery of the language, brilliance of mind and wit, and authenticity of the soul.”
--Stephanie Ryder, mother

"[The Tiffany Box] is a book I will always have on my bedside table when I need a good laugh or cry."
--Susan Bull, grandmother

About the Author

Kathleen Buckstaff lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay area. In addition to writing columns, plays, and books, Kathleen works as a performance artist. With the help of artistic director Carol MacLeod, Kathleen wrote a one-woman play using the e-mails, letters, columns, and diary entries contained in The Tiffany Box: A Memoir. The Tiffany Box: A Love Remembered opened at the Theatre Artists Studio in Phoenix, Arizona on November 4, 2010. Kathleen performed the play to sold-out theatres in Phoenix and San Francisco. She performed the play again in New York City as part of a solo festival and The Tiffany Box was honored as one of the most outstanding plays. Kathleen received her BA in English and creative writing from Stanford, and her MA in journalism from Stanford. Her columns have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Arizona Republic, Sun Literary Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dolphin Productions; First edition (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988764202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988764200
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,762,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Stephanie Ryder on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was a first for me on a number of levels. I have never sobbed after reading the first two pages of a book. I rarely laugh out loud when reading, and certainly not frequently in one book, and definitely not when I remember the image days later, as was the case when reading The Tiffany Box. I don't think I have ever finished a book and then started reading it again from the beginning right afterwards. I can't remember a time I read a book and midway through ordered 11 copies to give to people that I know would love it, and more importantly, benefit from its contents. It is a spiritual, powerful, sentimental, rip-roaring funny, unique, helpful read. I say helpful because Kathleen Buckstaff captures moments of my own life in her book, giving expression to those universal experiences so difficult to verbalize. There is something so healing about her ability to do this. I am deeply appreciative of this book, because it teaches me how I can approach end-of-life situations when I am faced with them. There were countless times in this book when I was laughing and sobbing at the same time. It is rare for an author to be able to move me in this way -- evoking "a 'good' cry!" I gave the book to my mother for Mothers' Day and she said she was laughing out loud on the airplane while reading it. She, too, said she was going to order multiple copies to give to friends and family. Kathleen Buckstaff exhibits mastery of the language, brilliance of mind and wit, and authenticity of the soul. If you have an open heart, you will love this book. If you don't, your heart will surely be opened by reading it.
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Format: Paperback
The Tiffany Box is a love letter written in emails by Ms. Buckstaff to her family and friends, complete with intimate correspondences detailing her mother's premature and painful death from cancer while trying to maintain her sanity as a young wife and mother.
Keep reading because the laughs compete with the tears.

Ms. Buckstaff is a wide-eyed and hopeful woman who has the same doubts and angst as any young woman who is juggling a career as a writer, raising her three children and communicating with her husband. Her hopes and dreams and day-to-day living detailed through emails to her friend Lisel are fraught with anxiety and uncertainty, and yet she seems to be in incredibly in love with her children, her husband and most of all her life.

There is a reason for books such as The Tiffany Box. Yes, people all over the world die from cancer. Yes, people lose family members they love every day, but not everyone can write about it in such a compelling manner. It's good to know that life does go on--as trite as that often sounds. In fact, it's important to learn how to be able to go on living, laughing and loving.

Your heart will soar to great heights when you come to the end of this love story.
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Format: Paperback
Kathleen Buckstaff has a big heart and a truth-telling spirit. She spins an intergenerational story about grandparents, parents and children who are glued together by generosity and love. Her book will sweep you to the center of her family's joys and tragedies. THE TIFFANY BOX is just plain wonderful.
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After reading this wonderful book, I emailed the author, Kathleen, and her husband, my nephew, letting them know I had spent the weekend with them as I laughed and cried pouring through this special book. Throughout life I have totally embraced the writings of Kathleen as has my family. She has a way of capturing and keeping the reader reading! The reviews above are exactly my sentiments so I shall not repeat those thoughts. I received this book from my sister who has given them out to many friends and family. This is a tale to be read and reread. Way to go!!! Love, A. Judy
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