Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review: How to Create the Perfect Wife

How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain’s Most Ineligible Bachelor and his Enlightened  Quest to Create the
Ideal Wife
by Wendy Moore

Thomas Day loved reading Rousseau, and he was a true disciple. When the wealthy young man had several unsuccessful courtships, he decided to try a new tactic. Enacting Rousseau’s Enlightenment philosophy of education, he chose two young orphans from an orphanage, ostensibly for “apprenticeship,” but in actuality to train them to be the perfect wife. He educated them to be able to converse with educated men, but also to serve the household needs, not to expect frivolities like fancy clothes or jewelry, and not to have their heads turned by dancing or other feminine foolishness. Author Moore did a fiendish job of researching this extremely odd story and pieced it together meticulously. It was such an odd story that it would have been difficult to believe without the undoubted documentary evidence. I think my only problem with the book was that it didn’t read like fiction, and it was such a freaky story. The central character, Day, was really unsavory and unpleasant. The women don’t seem to come alive (that was probably Day’s fault; he never wanted them to). Obviously, that wasn’t Moore’s fault. She told the story that she found.  3/5*

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