Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  407 ratings  ·  54 reviews
An essential, fully illustrated guidebook to day-to-day Goth living

There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase?

Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gothic Charm School, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gothic Charm School

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,028)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book is snarky! If I wanted a child's point of view on life I would have asked my 4 year old who seems to have better manners than this ranting author.

In this simple guide to everything you ever wanted to know about Gothic culture in today's world, Jillian Venters:the Lady of Manners", attempts to enlighten the nieve and broaden the Goth with proper do's and don't's of the genre .

I would really like to believe that people that chose to follow this way of life are much more vibrant, fun and...more
I thought I might learn some interesting facts or insights into the goth subculture. Turns out, I already seem to know everything about it. This book is too long. The author makes the same 4 points over and over, even repeating the same sentences throughout the book, making it read oddly like deja vu.
1. If you aren't goth, don't be an asshole to those who are.
2. If you are goth, be polite to those who aren't.
3. Goth is about literature, music, and most importantly, fashion.
4. Goth is "not just a...more
Brandy Y
Jillian is a friend of a friend, and while I've never met her, I do remember her from back in my newsgroup days, back on I always thought she was delightful and charming then, and this book proves that ten years hasn't changed anything!

Jillian's book is well-written, full of great advice, and great for both goths and non-goths. I wish I'd had a copy of it to hand to my parents when I became all morbid!
Caroline Åsgård
Jun 03, 2014 Caroline Åsgård rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I sense that this book is going to be quickly worn as my hands are a little sore and sweaty because of fighting with myself to put the book down after every chapter and go do something else (or at least watch an episode of The Addams Family).
I have read all the blog posts at several times, and finally that wasn't enough to me - I had to get the book, and support the lovely Jillian Venters who I also follow on Tumblr.

Before I go more in-depth about the book, I...more
Many have stated that this book repeats itself and a lot of it can really come down to common sense. However, some people don't realise that being kind to people on the street also means being kind to people at clubs, music concerts, in the shops, at work and online. And common sense, as the adage goes, isn't really that common. I will accept that Jillian Venters repeats herself a bit, but sometimes it's necessary.

A lot of this book is also just general tips on manners and kindness. I will admit...more
Gemma Thomson
Venters' book is a charming and light-hearted romp through goth culture, resplendent in manners and decorum. Though written from the perspective of a Victorian goth, it runs the gamut of spin-off cultures and provides a few short essays on what they have in common.

The chapters are best read in stages, or else dipped into on an ad hoc basis, for there is a lot of repetition. Some parts of the book also read as generic common sense - only towards the end do we see some quite useful gothy advice, o...more
Heather Carouth
I have followed the Gothic Charm School website for years so I had to show my support by buying the book.

I've always agreed with The Lady of the Manners that we Goths need to be twice as polite as less flamboyant people since we are expected to be horrible. It is important to counteract the negative stereotypes the mainstream has for us.

This is a delightful book told in the same whimsical third-person style as the website. A great guide for Goths and Non-Goths.
N.L. Riviezzo
A silly little read I picked up randomly in my local library. The topics address in the book really did not need 236 pages to be explained. 1 or 2 pages would have sufficed - at the most - nor did the topics need to be explained repeatedly in every chapter.

As someone of the Gothic persuasion, most of the content qualified as a 'Well, duh!' reaction.
Although much of this was common sense ettiquete, and preached to the Gothy little choir of my heart, I enjoyed this. Especially the constant referals to her readers as "Snarklings"!

Andrea Delesdernier
This book is so much fun. Makes my inner and outer Goth smile. It deals with history, fashion, and etiquette.
My snarling post-punk inner brat wants to know, who is this author to dish out advice to anyone? Apparently, she's a regular person with a career that enables her to wear neo-Victorian garb on a daily basis, which has resulted in enough ignorant questions, unwanted remarks, and unwelcome touching to prompt her website-cum-reference book. There aren't nearly enough nonfiction books about goths to suit me, so I really wanted to like this one more. If Venters had taken a friendlier, more peer-to-pe...more
Absolutely fantabulous book! (Yes, I just used the made-up word "fantabulous.") If you are looking at this book, go ahead and stop looking and either buy it or borrow a copy and start reading. I personally think that this book should be on the (non-existent) Required Reading list of every young person, whether they be Goth or otherwise.

Ah Jillian, where were you when I was a "babybat" in high school? Had I read this book in high school (it was published after my high school years), I believe my...more
Michael Hanscom
Simply put, this should be highly recommended, if not required reading not just for goths, but also for anyone curious about the goth community, whether because they are personally interested or because they have an acquaintance, friend, or loved one (spouse, significant other, boy- or girlfriend, relative, child, or secret crush) who counts themselves among the spooky set.

Miss Manners' more somber-dressed and bat-festooned doppelgänger, the Lady of the Manners, has adapted from and expanded upo...more
If you’ve ever seen someone with multiple piercings, spiked collars and death-warmed-over makeup and wondered “Why is she dressed that way?”, “Is he dangerous?”, “How does he sleep with his hair like that?” or “Halloween was yesterday, wasn’t it?”, then this book is for you. If you’re one of those who wish to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish brigades…maybe this book isn’t for you.

But the Lady of the Manners is here to help all those fledgling and seasoned Goth lovers learn everyt...more
Jan 15, 2012 Sunil rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This book is both enjoyable and appropriate for people who aren't even very Goth at all, this non-Goth proclaims! I assume that any Goths reading this post are already interested in the book, being part of the built-in audience, but you may want to read this book if any of the following apply to you:

You know a Goth personally: Does that person you hang out with who's always wearing black kind of freak you out? Jilli's here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about, and she will even tell...more
Nicole Pramik
Introduction: This obscure and entertaining gem was written by a Goth herself, Jillian Venters, who prefers to go by the title Lady of the Manners.

That’s because Venters…ahem, Lady of the all about good old-fashioned etiquette. But this just isn’t your usual “how to say please and thank you” handbook. Gothic Charm School explores the background, explains the aspects, and explodes myths of and about the Goth subculture. You’ve probably seen a few Goths: people with a liking for black...more
i just finished reading gothic charm school by jillian venters - the lady of the manners. it is a truly fabulous book! it is an 'essential guide for goths and those who love them' - and yes, it is.

this book actually would be something that everyone should read for affirmations and pick-me-ups. everything she says can be applied to any culture, not just goth. i think a lot of people need to step back, take a look around, just be nicer, and stop judging by looks. the world would be much nicer pla...more
Disenchanted with many aspects of lolita, I picked up this book. Given, I am a bit biased as both me and the author are from Seattle and I have considerable northwest pride, but I found the book a nice read. Not only did the self-titled Lady of the Manners unknowingly enlighten me to the key differences between goth and lolita (most prominently that lolita is mostly an emphasis on a specific whereas goth is about a feeling and a culture) and make me more inclined toward her side, but many of the...more
Honestly, I'm a little surprised that some people consider the tone of this book to be snarky. I think quite the opposite - Jillian comes across as a warm, bubbly lady who wishes to inform both goths and non-goths alike about the culture. While there is certainly an emphasis on the importance of etiquette (perhaps a bit too much), it is an important message to be sending; for anyone, not just the darkly inclined. This book, in my eyes, conveys a love for Goth and Gothlings. Furthermore, it touch...more
Charday Samayoa
This book was beautifully, eloquently written and was a sophisticated read. It is informative for those individuals who lack knowledge of the subculture and clarifies the erroneous stereotypes encompassing "Gothness". However I felt the book was a bit redundant and seemed to primarily focus on the subject of etiquette. It perfectly suits the moniker the author has coined herself with... "the lady of the manners" and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with etiquette, I would have enjoyed...more
This was an interesting book. It is for both the Non-Goth and the Goth. There is a lot of information in this book, but it does deal a lot with manners and who you should treat others. Respond to others, etc. Appropiately though because the author goes by "Lady of the Manners".

The author also has a website and a few videos on You Tube all about Goth.

I have to say that I learned some things from reading this book. A lot of the things you hear about Goths just are not accurate.

This was an easy an...more
Aug 25, 2014 Grant&Mimi marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014-mimi
ordered August 25, 2014 for 'The Project'
Jillian Venters explores the Goth subculture in incredible detail. She entertains her readers with sarcastic remarks and footnotes while maintaining a very educational tone throughout.

I found the book easy to read, understand and relate to as well as highly informative. As an 'Elder Goth', Venters knows what she is talking about and gets her message across flawlessly.

I would recommend this book to any 'babybat'/goth doing their research or looking for some background info into the subculture.
This was a fun little book of etiquette tailored toward Goths, but it is worthwhile for anyone to read. I like Venters' writing style, affectedly formal and she knows it. It's funny and fun, which is her intention, rather than pretentious.

It's also just a good reminder of what *should* be proper etiquette, common sense behaviour. I think it's sad that a lot of what she said isn't actually common, but it was a nice little read.

Gothic Charm School made me think really hard about why we classify people the way we do, and what it means to be goth. (Hint: if you're just in it for the clothes, you're doing it wrong.) It's a thinking book, and also has a lot of practical advice on everything from laundry to getting along with classmates. I'd recommend this to anyone.
Countess Lola
Hilarious guide that covers just about everything from dancing to parents to the "fashion vs. music" debate, Gothic Charm School is a must-read for everyone, be you a goth or friend or family of one. It creates humor in the face of trials, and teaches us the most important lesson of all: Friends don't let friends dress like The Crow.
Nicole Bunge
Great for goths and those that love them.
Practical and snarky, full of oodles of common-sense advice for daily use by those who enjoy the ooky-spooky side of life.
From dealing with obnoxious coworkers to roommate rules to club etiquette, this book pretty much covers it all.
A joyful quirky read I'll treasure.
Whether you're part of the subculture or not, this guide is charming and fun to read. I'll admit that the "Lady of Manners" referring to herself in the third person gets annoying at times, but this book is still worth reading. The tone the writer uses is friendly and engaging and the illustrations are funny.
A well-written book that doesn't take itself too seriously, but gets a bit repetitious toward the end. The author included several excellent lists of classic books, movies, and musicians that influenced the creation of Goth, as well as newer media that continues to evolve the subculture.
Monster Mary Bart
I just finished Gothic Charm School by Jillian Venters. It was a fun read and I love the illustrations throughout the book by her husband. It doesn't contain a lot of information on music, books, or movies. However, Jillian's unique style of writing is fun to read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 34 35 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined
  • What Is Goth?
  • Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture
  • Goth Chic: A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Culture
  • Overheard in New York: Conversations from the Streets, Stores, and Subways
  • Nemi - Vol. 1 (Nemi, #1)
  • How Shakespeare Changed Everything
  • Your Sugar Sits Untouched
  • Gothic and Lolita
  • The Psychology of Joss Whedon: An Unauthorized Exploration
  • Darkside Zodiac
  • The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women's Rights and How to Fight Back
  • Subwayland: Adventures in the World Beneath New York
  • Walking The Tree
  • Gothic Grimoire
  • Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend
  • Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified
  • Book of Poisons: A Guide for Writers
Jillian Venters was a fairly spooky and morbid child. When she discovered the existence of the whole Gothic subculture, she clapped her hands with glee and fell upon it like a babybat upon a box of Count Chocula cereal. Since then, the Lady of the Manners has spent a not inconsiderable amount of time trying to gently persuade others in her chosen subculture that being a polite Goth is much, much m...more
More about Jillian Venters...
Steampunk Tales #3 Steampunk Tales #2 Steampunk Tales: Issue 9 The Steampunk Megapack: 26 Modern and Classic Steampunk Stories Steampunk Tales: Issue 5

Share This Book