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“Ungovernable” Is Darkly Comical

by BUST Magazine



Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent’s Guide to Raising Flawless Children
By Therese Oneill
(Little, Brown and Company)

Hey, moms! Did you know that you’ve been feeding your kids too many vegetables? And indeed, it’s likely that you haven’t been dosing them with nearly enough turpentine—four ounces a day should do the trick! If this disturbs you, then you’re probably not a Victorian-era parent. European and American child-rearing practices of this time were vastly different than today’s, in ways that will seem both horrifying and hilarious to the modern reader. It’s amazing that anyone survived, yet here we are. 

Replete with cleverly captioned illustrations from the time period, this book attempts to show how the realities of an era far removed from us shaped its parenting trends in ways that were based on varying degrees of rationality and reason. While acknowledging the grim conditions of Victorian youth, the author offers a lighthearted romp through the more absurd side of the parenting books and trending childhood advice literature of the time. It would make a good gift for a mom with a sense of humor. (5/5)

By Renate Robertson

Ungovernable was published April 16, 2019. This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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