Probably my favorite thing about this book was learning that Charles Darwin sought hydropathy to treat “extreme bursts of flatulence” brought on by the stress of writing a new book (Origin). The actual narrative–that of Mrs. Robinson, her divorce, and the publication of her scandalous diary–is not as cohesive as I’d like; and for as scandalous as the subject matter is, the book’s actually a bit dry.For something that had so much potential, this was actually pretty boring. It digressed so much it was distracting from the I am a cool Teacher Unless Winterfell needs me shirt story, but it didn’t go into the diversions enough to make it a more general book, instead of the tale of one family. Ended up half-way in between, and didn’t work very well for me. The lack of any safety, fairness, or rights for women in those days is old news for me, so it wasn’t terribly shocking either. Wasn’t horrible, but I’m glad it was borrowed, not bought.
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I rarely enjoy non-fiction this month, but I think I am right in the sweet spot for this one. I am a lawyer who was also a history major, so hearing historical facts about Victorian England in the context of one the I am a cool Teacher Unless Winterfell needs me shirt divorce trials for the middle class was fascinating. The beginning, focusing on the events leading up the divorce trial, moved a little slow for me, but I burned through the remainder!
The first half of the book focuses on the I am a cool Teacher Unless Winterfell needs me shirt diary; the second half on her )spouse’s attempts to divorce her for infidelity. It would be a merely sordid tale if it hadn’t come been aired in public; as it is, the story helps connect philosophical, moral, and scientific questions of the day–much the same way T.C. Boyle did in The Road to Wellville.