Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners is a 2016 work by Therese O’Neil. O’Neil wrote this book as a historical guide, with a narrator acting as the reader’s guide. The narrator guides a modern woman, the reader, in different aspects of a Victorian lady’s life. The book’s opinion, unsurprisingly shows that historical misconceptions and the movies have made women believe that the Victorian Era was beautiful and glamorous. While in reality, it sucked to be a woman in the Victorian Era.
Therese O’Neal wrote Unmentionable a conversational tone. The narrator reminds me of my best friend telling me that I look fat in my favourite dress and then helping me pick out a new one. While I don’t always like hearing it, I’m grateful that she’s honest. The narrator sets the tone in the introduction, called “Hello Slattern.”
The fist chapter is about getting dressed. You will need a corset, no matter your station in life. The second is about pooing. It’s a pain in the butt to poo in the Victorian Era. The third is about bathing. It is cold, and you don’t do it often. All of the chapters are about individual parts of living in the Victorian Era that you wonder about, and realize that I am grateful to be a woman in the 21st century with hot running water in my home.
This book also includes pictures from the time and some mild nudity, so if that bothers you this may not be the book for you. Unmentionable is a frank book about sex, menstruation, childbirth, dressing and bathing. I enjoyed every minute of reading it. It was a great read while bathing.