Sarah A. Chrisman uses her own journey with wearing the body-shaping undergarment known as the corset to explore the lessons that Victorian styles and notions can teach modern women. Chrisman, initially hesitant to don the garment with the possible chauvinistic implications and physical burdens it carries, found it in fact to give her a certain confidence and to illuminate ideas about feminism and sexuality that were hitherto absent from her daily life. Kristen Kalbi deftly performs this account that dips into history and big ideas with a personal tenor, making it feel like her own journal.
A true story about discovering positive selfhood, from a woman who moved beyond stereotypes to explore the world of corsetry firsthand.
On Sarah A. Chrisman's 29th birthday, her husband, Gabriel, presented her with a corset. The material and the design were breathtakingly beautiful, but her mind immediately filled with unwelcome views. Although she had been in love with the Victorian era all her life, she had specifically asked her husband not to buy her a corset - ever. She'd heard how corsets affected the female body and what they represented, and she wanted none of it.
However, Chrisman agreed to try on the garment . . . and found it surprisingly enjoyable. The corset, she realized, was a tool of empowerment - not oppression. After a year of wearing a corset on a daily basis, her waist had gone from thirty-two inches to twenty-two inches, she was experiencing fewer migraines, and her posture improved. She had successfully transformed her body, her dress, and her lifestyle into that of a Victorian woman - and everyone was asking about it.
In Victorian Secrets, Chrisman explains how a garment from the past led to a change in not only the way she viewed herself, but also the ways she understood the major differences between the cultures of twenty-first-century and nineteenth-century America. The desire to delve further into the Victorian lifestyle provided Chrisman with new insight into issues of body image and how women, past and present, have seen and continue to see themselves.
©2013 Sarah A. Chrisman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Just an Excentric Dirt Lawyer
If you like non-conformists, this is a bit of fun. She is eccentric, but always interesting.
This book sounded condescending to all humanity besides herself and her husband. The entire story Sarah Chrisman's tells is self serving and had such a negative tone about all of the world around her. She was comfortable with labeling others, name calling "Ms Polyester" and "Mr. Tomato Head" and criticizing ffreely most of the people she encountered. The reading contributed to the negative tone. I was so looking forward to something delightful and charming, positive, and liberating.
She tried too hard to convince the world how much of a liberated woman she is and just enjoyed telling her story. Everyone else is portrayed as idiots. She obviously gained self confidence and a greater sense of of self, it is such a shame.
No I would not be willing to listen to her again. I wonder if the reading was what cast such a negative tone to the reading of the book.
The migraine, so boring.
I couldn't wait for the book to end so I could write this review. I listen to so many wonderful books. This is just a great disappointment. I guess with the sales of this book she can have more custom corsets made, get a 1 bedroom apartment, and her own wi-fi.
Sarah Chrisman says herself that she wrote this because she answered the same questions constantly about her corset wearing and associated lifestyle. It is as promised. However, I can't help but feel this book lacked a good editor. It feels almost passive aggressive, with every person who (admittedly rudely) questioned or criticized her personal fashion/body/lifestyle choices described as ignorant, ugly or having bad taste or questionable life choices themselves. She dislikes negative attention but clearly enjoys attention. This book read like having a long lunch with a self centered friend who never tired of talking about themselves or lecturing endlessly on topics they see themselves as an expert in.
Great voice, very pleasant and clear.
A very delightful and unusual book. I learned a lot of subtleties of Victorian dress. The author has a lovely command of the English language. The grace she cultivates in her manner and dress comes through in her language.
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