I purchased this from eBay after reading her book, This Victorian Life. I was fascinated by her lifestyle described in that book, but quite put off by her character. This book is even more shocking in terms of her disgustingly enhanced pomposity, but I think I've figured her out.
Chrisman talks a lot about the "alpha creature" vs. the "subordinate". She also seems to adhere to a lot of pseudo-scientific beliefs about macro-evolution that are just as archaic as the Victorian age she emulates. I seriously think she sees herself as a more evolved human---an alpha species---because she's chosen to believe her lifestyle (what she calls her "research") makes her a more intelligent and better dressed member of society. To put it in plainer terms for all us lesser people: she thinks she's better than us.
I don't want this review to be all about how much I can't stand this woman, but that's pretty much all I could think about as I read this book. So, before I launch into a more vehement rage than I did for her last book, let me expound on the parts of this one that I did like.
Her conclusions on corset wearing were delightfully surprising. There seem to be many happy benefits: a much trimmer waist, better posture and back support, help with portion control, not to mention a better appearance and self-image. I was also very encouraged to seize the day when it comes to doing the things I want to do but am afraid to because of the opinion of others. I don't have a HUGE problem doing my own thing, but I do have some hangups about my appearance. I feel like I can be more bold in presenting myself the way I desire to, rather than worrying about fitting into someone's mold.
Now...Chrisman started right in with the arrogance. On one hand, I understand she and her husband are offended by those who could so bungle the art of dressing Victorian with plastic jewelry and synthetic fiber, on the other hand---SHE is NOT a VICTORIAN!!! They are playing a game---just like the other reenactors they come across. She gets so angry when someone calls her clothing a "costume" because people who wear costumes are people who play pretend. Um. Reforming your entire existence to emulate people who lived over 100 years ago---all while selectively living, working, and interacting with the 21st century---if that's not playing pretend, I don't know what is!
I get a sense she feels she and Gabriel are "real Victorians" while others are just play-acting. Get a grip, lady! You are a 21st century woman deeply involved in an extreme form of historical pretend. You drive a DeLorean, for crying out loud! Leave others alone about how they choose to engage in this game and they'll leave you alone about how you do.
In every encounter, (often besides, but not completely excluding personal friends) she runs down everyone from her own mother to a woman who accidentally swished her long ponytail into cupcake frosting. These put-downs are never necessary, but someone who sees herself as superior must continuously put down others in order to keep up appearances. The only people she speaks positively about are children and those who compliment and are sympathetic to her.
She is so specific with her descriptions and put-downs that I can't imagine she's gained many friends in the PNW community---unless they're all just as snotty and judgemental as she. As I said in my review of This Victorian Life, decent people likely aren't mean to her because of how she dresses---they're probably disillusioned by the way she acts. There's more to being a lady than dressing like one. Give me a smiling "rotund" plastic-clad reenactor, any day, over a white-washed high school bully in a more accurate costume.
Released 1 mo ago (8/11/2018 UTC) at A Fellow Bookcrosser in Controlled Release, --by post or by hand (ie ring, ray, RABCK, trade) -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sending to emmejo. Enjoy!
To the finder of this book:
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This just arrived; thank you! I've heard a lot of criticisms of the author and her projects, most of which sound pretty warranted, but I still find the concepts interesting enough to want to find out more. From elizardbreath's review, it sounds like it will need to be a read while in a tolerant mood!