Treasures: The Stories Women Tell About the Things They Keep


376 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55238-073-4
DDC 305.4'0971




Reviewed by Naomi Brun

Naomi Brun is a freelance writer and a book reviewer for The Hamilton


Kathleen Cairns is a psychology professor at the University of Calgary.
Eliane Silverman, her former colleague, was the head of Women’s
Studies at the University of Calgary for 25 years. Together, they have
researched the significance of women’s prized possessions and
published their findings in this work.

The premise is both fascinating and timely. Many women save mementos
from important events in their lives, and others collect random objects
like teacups and thimbles. The recent resurgence of scrapbooking as a
popular hobby can be understood as yet another form of this tendency
among women to preserve the bits and pieces that come their way.
Although this habit is well documented, few books have sought to explain
why women are inclined to collect. For this reason, Treasures appeared
especially promising.

Unfortunately, it reads very much like a thesis. Mementos and
collections are essentially personal in nature, but Treasures does
little to convey this reality. Cairns and Silverman have explored their
topic in great depth, and have drawn some interesting conclusions, but
their approach is too clinical and too academic to reach the heart of
the average reader.


Cairns, Kathleen V., and Eliane Leslau Silverman., “Treasures: The Stories Women Tell About the Things They Keep,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,