Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: The Victorian Home by Judith Flanders

OK, I have to admit: I got this book from the library because some troll on Amazon called it "feminist, liberalist, sick, and twisted."  Wow.  Who wouldn't want to see what had set this dude off?
It turned out to be focused on women, how hard day-to-day life in a very polluted London could be for a woman who had to do laundry with soap instead of detergent, deal with the fact that most homes had cesspits in the cellars or right underneath them (ewwww), and clean rugs with no vacuums  -- all while wearing approximately 40 pounds of clothing "to keep off the chill," which was thought to cause illness.
Since I never trust a non-fiction author who refuses to cite/footnote, I was very pleased with the amount of footnoting Flanders included.
Below is my official, brief Amazon and Goodreads review:

This book was fantastic!
Flanders walks the reader from room to room in a Victorian middle class home, enlightening and entertaining as she explains topics which vary from why Victorians were so obsessed with covering and draping everything to dealing with annoying solicitors. Her footnotes and research are thorough, widely varied, and useful. If she makes a claim, she backs it up!
The book is huge, and yet it is easily readable and flows if it had a plot.
I planned to skim it, ended up reading it voraciously, and -- now that it's due back at the library -- will be purchasing my own copy.

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