Sunday, August 31, 2008

book review: "Dumbbells, Ear Caps and Hair Restorers" by Jane Furnival

A Shopper's Guide to Gentlemen's Foibles - 1800s-1930s
Jane Furnival

After rereading “The Historian” for next month’s unofficial FFP discussion (which I will try to write a review on later), I wanted something light and quick and easy to read.

“Dumbbells, Ear Caps and Hair Restorers: A Shopper's Guide to Gentlemen's Foibles - 1800s-1930s” features the must-haves for the gentleman-of-the-world in the 19th century. It contains images of actual advertisements, from Dunhills’ Bobby Finders - “Will spot a policeman at half a mile even if disguised as a respectable man” - to my favorite, The Acme Mustache Guard - “Solid Comfort While Eating. No Use for Napkins. Does not interfere with free use of mouth.” (LOL!) - and reads like a brochure. Think home TV shopping, only in book form.

The author also inserts amusing comments and trivia, like how the Prince of Wales served as the fashion icon of his time, even if he continued to commit several faux pas! An interesting glimpse into everyday life in the 19th century, and it makes one realize that men can be as vain about their looks as women.

(Since I started to keep a book diary I’ve found it easier to arrange my thoughts and impressions on the books I’ve read, so thanks to Marie for the inspiration!)


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