Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review - Gothic Charm School

I bought this book a couple of weeks ago, as a friend of mine had purchased a copy and turned me on to it. I had seen the author's YouTube videos a while ago, but had no idea there was a book as well. Coincidentally, the Ultimate Goth Guide also talked about this book this past week (check it out - wicked blog)!

I found Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters (Harper Collins) to be an easy but enjoyable read overall. Her main messages is be yourself, expressing your gothiness, while being polite and courteous. The book seems to be mainly aimed at those new to the scene. I think it is worth a read though, even for more seasoned members.
There are sections on why it is a good idea to cultivate your manners, how to explain yourself to others, advice for babybats (love this term), advice on how to behave when out and about on the scene, on fashion etc.
I found myself smiling as I recognized certain scenarios - people waving there arms about the dance floor carelessly, tourists at the bar, fielding questions from those who ask you about your outfit etc. My favorite is people who are obviously dressed gothic but insist they are not goths! It was nice to know there were common experiences out there.
I'm just a few years younger than the author, so I think it's funny that after 30 one is considered an elder. While the local scene is mostly younger, there are a fair number of "elders" still,of various ages, and this makes me happy.
I'm also glad there are "elders" out there like Jillian who promote good manners (that warms my Victorian heart) and who express their love for the subculture with joy.

I give this book 4 out of 5 parasols.

I've posted the link to her Gothic Charm School site in the list of links to the right. You can also follow Jillian Venters on twitter @CupcakeGoth.

Any suggestions on what book I should read and review next?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Why thank you ^^

    Love this book! I can see why some people find her affectations irritating, but I find them charming and amusing. I read a post on Tumblr where someone was saying they would never want to be like her, that she's an attention-seeking caricature, which I thought was frankly a load of rubbish. I adore the way she dresses and I wish this book had been available when I first became interested in the Goth scene.

  2. Would you suggest this book to someone who isn't and has no intention of being Gothic, but has appreciation for the beauty of the fashion of it.

  3. I quite like the book, however I don't see the point of some sections. Such as telling me what I should do and act if I have a crush on someone.

  4. @Julietslace I agree about the crushes part, which is why I think it's mainly aimed at younger people. Also the section about talking to your parents about it- also clearly not aimed at my age demographic. It might be useful to some teens though. Like you I enjoyed it overall though.
    And like @ultimategithguide I wish I had this book when I was younger. I might of avoided some excessive black eyeliner face drawing episodes.
    @pixie I don't know if I would actually recommend it to those who are goth appreciators. I think it's an okay read for them as it has advice for the goth friendly, but I don't know how much they'd get out of the book overall.

  5. Hey - manners never go out of style. ;)

  6. I was really excited to find Ms. Venters, because as you know Lou, she was one of my first online discoveries as I first started looking for Gothy things :) I must say though, that I found her book to be less informative than her website, when I thought it was going to be the other way around. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it, and I think it would be a great book for non-Goths, especially parents of young people, to look through. It does a lot of good, dispelling fears about "evil Goths", showing that they can still be sensible and mannerly, as well as offering a nice general overview of Goth.