Review: Unmentionable

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)

UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O’Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)

This book delivers on what it promises: obscure social tidbits, humor, and enough questionable hygiene to make me rethink my time-travel fantasies to only eras with indoor plumbing.

However, though funny, this was not an easy read for me. It was a little too much at times, and the humor felt a bit forced if not overdone. I also felt the sources were a bit limited, giving us one particular view on the era and the practices, though the author is very open about that and admits to her limitations in the telling of the time.

If any of you are familiar with the Horrible History books, this reads very similarly, but for adults. We get all the dirty little secrets that entertain us and make us cringe while giggling and telling all of our friends the gross new fact we just learned. This was certainly entertaining, and opened my eyes to things about the Victorian era that I never really thought about. It was the era that built up to massive social, economic, and political change; and perhaps all the personal oppression in the name of decorum had something to do with it.

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