Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reading: Unmentionable

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, by Therese Oneill, uses the same conceit as The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century, by Ian Mortimer: the author accompanies us back to a certain time period (here, the Victorian era) and explains how you would be expected to live in order to fit in. In the case of Unmentionable, the focus is on upper-to-middle class women and the expectations and prescriptions particular to them.

Info-wise, I found the book interesting, even though I was familiar with quite a bit of the general outlines. The explanation of how forceps (or the lack thereof) may have changed the course of British monarchy was fascinating, though. I also found the quotations well chosen and well "interpreted".

Style-wise, I generally enjoyed the tone, especially in the more straightforward explanations and in the ironic commentary, but sometimes the book veered too far into "humor blog" style for my taste, especially in places where I had difficulty parsing what was meant because of the fragments used, mostly in the first half of the book.

All in all, I found it a quick, enjoyable read for the holiday break,

Nee in Germany has a big To Be Read pile

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