It seemed to me the logical progression, once you’d established yourself as a woman in Victorian times, would be to have some babies and make them perfect. So I wrote a book about how you would do that.

Spoiler: You are NOT gonna do that. But I give you some great details as to how they tried:

  • What mood, position, and continent to be on when you try to conceive, and how to help the healthy sperm (the BOY sperm) make it to your egg first!
  • Healthy Amusements For Kids vs. Those Which are Satan Disguised in a Raiment of Light and Pleasure.
  • Fun Ways to Prepare Sons for World Dominion as is Their Birthright!
  • Should my Daughter Read? How Math + Menstruation = Death.
  • Feeding Children: Picky Eaters are God’s Way of Culling the Herd.
  • Discipline: ……ehh…was…..really awful.
  • Medicine:….was worse, actually. I’m not saying cyanide isn’t effective but it’s really hard to get the dose right.

But rest assured, even when horrific, Ungovernable is delightful.

Praise for Ungovernable

“Replete with cleverly captioned illustrations from the time period, this book attempts to show how the realities of an era far removed from us shaped its parenting trends in ways that were based on varying degrees of rationality and reason. While acknowledging the grim conditions of Victorian youth, the author offers a lighthearted romp through the more absurd side of the parenting books and trending childhood advice literature of the time. It would make a good gift for a mom with a sense of humor”. (5/5) -Bust Magazine

Ungovernable serves as a reminder that pseudoscience is hardly a relic of the past. And have we fully evolved? A century from now, readers will probably snicker that nearly everything early-21st-century parents fed their children came in nugget or squeeze-pouch form. In the meantime, Oneill’s irreverent guide is a reality check for those who might romanticize the era of strict self-discipline and unchallenged parental authority. “Welcome to the past,” she writes. “It’s quite awful here.” -The Washington Post

“Ungovernable is a more difficult topic to broach, coming in at a fraught time. As Oneill acknowledges more than once, a lot of the norms of Victorian child raising are just too dire for much comedy. In its best moments, the book connects past to present.” – NPR

“….this dark-humored, enlightening look at Victorian-era prescriptions for upper-class childbirth and child rearing. Using a Socratic dialogue between the brisk yet cheerful narrator and an intelligent modern woman, Oneill lays out common expert opinions from the 19th century, a time with a startling 20%-or-higher child mortality rate.

Oneill probes each topic with a Lemony Snicket–like tone and candor, revealing how some of these beliefs eventually evolved into improved girls’ education and a kinder approach to discipline. One part sauciness, one part frankness, and one part sweet relief that readers live in the present, Oneill’s  book provides readers with a liberal dose of medical and women’s history that’s well worth taking.” -Publisher’s Weekly

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NEW! My book preview (skit I made and I think it’s HILARIOUS but lots of drunken parenting, violence, and potatoes just like REAL Victorian Parenting, is here!