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431 pages, Hardcover
First published January 23, 2014
I never set out to pose nude. I didn’t, honestly.Oh, what was that? I'm sorry. Did your clothes accidentally fall off by themselves? Were you wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? Oh, wait, no. You took off your clothes to prove that you're the equal of all the male artists despite the fact that the thought of stripping naked makes you want to run away in terror. If they jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?
“I’m not forced.” I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t afraid, because I would be lying. My legs were trembling so much I was surprised my knees didn’t clack together.This scene made me so completely uncomfortable.
I started to undo my blouse, but my hands shook and my fingers slipped off the buttons.
My mother might have forbidden me to walk out the front door.She gets in trouble. She gets arrested for a night. NOBODY FUCKING NOTICES. Vicky sneaks out to paint Will. Excuses, excuses, excuses. What chaperone? What tea parties? Vicky has more fucking freedom to do whatever the fuck she wants because it seems that nobody watches her at all. She has time to slip away for fucking day trip with lover boy Will. NOBODY NOTICES. She goes unchaperoned to chill with Will. NOBODY NOTICES. She slips off to kiss Will at his apartment. NOBODY NOTICES. It's the early 20th century, people!
But she had said nothing about the window.
I realized that maybe the antidote lay in telling Will I was engaged. But how to begin? I would just say it: Will, I’m engaged. No, that was too blunt. How about: Actually, I forgot to tell you something. It’s so funny that I haven’t said anything before. I’m getting married in three months’ time. No, that was worse.So much worse that she doesn't tell Will at all.
It felt different with Will. I had studied the other models with an artist’s scrutiny. But with Will, I longed to see him without his clothes. If I were honest, I’d admit I’d even imagined him without his clothes on before.
And the more I thought about it, the longer the list of famous artists marrying or having affairs with their models grew. One didn’t have to act on that impulse. I certainly wouldn’t marry or have an affair with mine.People are Merely Means To an End: Vicky uses people. She tramples over people. She does not have friends, she does not have lovers, people are merely objects to be used and discarded in order for her to get what she wants. She uses her fiancé, Edmund, for his money, for the fact that marriage to him will bring her freedom to do what she wants. Love does not come into the equation. Edmund is a walking tuition check to the Royal Academy of Arts.
I thought I would feel better at that realization, but somehow I didn’t.
We’ll announce your engagement after the king’s first court in June. You will have a wonderful life with Mr. Carrick-Humphrey. Just think of it.”
But all I could think about was my college tuition paid.
“My mother employs you, and your loyalties must lie with her, after all. But know that if you tattle on me, then I’ll tattle on you."She uses the young police constable with whom she is falling in love. She wants him for a muse. She wants to draw him naked. She never, ever tells him the truth---that she is engaged to another man. Vicky lets Will fall in love with her and uses him for her art, knowing she can never be his.
“Northbrook had been paving the way for Dad to gain a royal warrant. But now, because of your actions, he may have lost his chance.”And then she keeps on pulling her stunts with reckless disregard for her family.
"...[it] means more than a scandal, Victoria. It means the end to Darling and Son. Father has much to lose."For a Fucking Feminist, You Sure Are Snobby and Judgmental: Vicky is outraged at the cage around her. She is so upset at the fact that society is unfair that she is perfectly willing to look upon others as lower-class than herself. Are you fucking kidding me? Vicky has a lady's maid named Sophie. She is her one good friend. A confidante, one who completely understands her. Except that Sophie can't be her friend because they're not of the same social class!!
But as lonely as I felt, and as much as I liked her, Sophie was my lady’s maid. Even though I called her by her Christian name, she wasn’t my friend.Oh, and Sophie, don't you dare act uppity to your fucking mistress!
“Sophie, you overstep yourself!” I hissed. “You’re my lady’s maid, not my confessor!”And the man she loves? Oh, it's such a shame that he has no money. That he's working class. Give me a break. It is one thing to want a change for yourself, I admire a woman who will fight for injustice, but it is one thing to fight for yourself, it is another thing entirely to completely disregard others and to see your own battle as superior.
A painfully soppy person if there ever was one. How my fun, handsome brother got saddled with her I shall never know.A feminist does not hate other women, a feminist does not disregard other women's choices as inferior to her own should another woman choose a more traditional path in life. Vicky looks down on her mother for the same choices, for the fact that she chooses not to pursue art, and instead chose the path of wife and motherhood.
“I shan’t forgive you,” he said in a gruff voice, “for you’ve done nothing wrong. You’ve quite made my evening. Makes a change from the usual parade of utterly proper debutantes that parade in front of me year after year. They all look the same, but you—you I shall remember! Who is your family?”I Want Everything Handed to Me on a Fucking Silver Platter: Vicky cannot contemplate a lifestyle outside of her own privileged life. She wants everything. She wants a fabulous career in art, but she wants it to be financed. Her father, her husband, it doesn't matter. Someone has to support her extravagant lifestyle, and she doesn't want to be a starving artist. There are very, very limited options for a young well-born woman of her era. Something has to give, but that something is not Vicky. She wants it all.
I spent the day doing exactly what I wanted to do. This was the life I wanted. No crushingly boring social-etiquette classes to take or deadly dull tea parties or idiotic social functions to attend.She wants the money, the life, the love, without the responsibilities. She is willing to marry for money, and fucking whines about having to marry for money because she can't get what she wants otherwise. That's fucking immature.
“There can’t be two sets of expectations, one for them and one for me, the only girl in class. How will I earn their esteem if I don’t pose?”
“Why is it so absurd? I can illustrate as well as any man. These are modern times, and women are still treated as nothing but pretty dolls or lapdogs!”
I could fit right in with the blokes, but I prefer not to.
We modern women are fortunate to have had such brave souls fighting to give us the vote. -Sharon Biggs Walker
For opportunity is nothing if you don't grave it with both hands.
"If I'm going to be a student here, treated on equal terms, then I have to be willing to do everything that they do," I said. "There can't be two sets of expectations, one for them and one for me, the only girl in the class. How will I earn their esteem if I don't pose?" - A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Without any warning, tears filled my eyes. No one had ever given me such a kind and thoughtful gift before. I pictured Will going into the shop, looking over the books, and then discovering the very one he knew I would love. I even pictured him watching as the clerk wrapped the volume in brown paper. I wondered if the clerk had tied the green bow on it or if Will had gone into a notion shop and chosen it himself. These were all small things, but kindness was built of small things. - A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Then I knew: this wasn't just a passion I felt for my model. My feelings about him had nothing to do with how his looks inspired me; he was far more than a muse. With every stroke of pencil and crayon, I had drawn Will into my heart.
I was in love with him. - A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit. - Flavia Dzodan
“This is why we all fight so hard. Not just for the vote, but for an equal opportunity in the world. A vote is a voice. I think you underestimate yourself, Queenie. This is your fight, same as it is mine.”
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller