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

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  83 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?

Jillian
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 1st 2009)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  719 ratings  ·  83 reviews


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Michelle Morrell
If you've hung around the Seattle scene enough, you've probably seen the author of this book. Dressed in giant swirling dark concoctions of lace and frills, petticoats and layers, giant hats and shiny shoes, Jillian stands out instantly. She's always impeccably dressed, and at first glance can be an intimidating fixture, even with a smile on her face. Yet every time I've spoken with her (usually in a bathroom, sharing the same mirror), she is kind, polite, funny and goes out of her way to put on ...more
Stacie
Jul 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Sarah
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Arya
A nice behavioral guide to the Goth subculture.
Written in a personable style with neatly organized sections to make it easier for you to pick and choose what you want to read.
Also, BEAUTIFUL illustration by Pete Venters, the author's husband and a talented artist. Those were my favorite parts of the book.
Recommend to anyone newly interested in the Goth world, or those who might just be curious.
Lila Lockhart
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
Caroline Åsgård
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Before I go more in-depth about the book, I just want to say that I would recommend this book to absolutely ANYONE! I almost said ''if you don't mind all the stuff about goth'', but also then too, because people need to learn about this subculture and be less hateful towards it. This book is filled of lots of life lessons and advice, about everything from manners to romance. So there is something in here for everyone!

The author, Jillian Venters is a lovely and eccentric Eldergoth who is intellig
...more
Jay
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
Brandy Y
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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 alt.gothic.fashion. 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!
Regina
So I still need to properly sit down and read this book all the way through, from chapter from chapter but what I've read so far... isn't accurate. Compared to all of the internet sources I've read, all the fanzines on the subculture (sold when it was at its beginning) and, most importantly, books like Some Wear Leather, Some Wear Lace: The Worldwide Compendium of Postpunk and Goth in the 1980s that have interviews from the people who were in the original Batcave scene or musicians (like Alien S ...more
Sunil
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
N.L. Riviezzo
Apr 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Breanna
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I know some people don't really like/agree with this book for some odd reason, but I really enjoyed it. Jillian Venters is a gothic rolemodel for goths of all ages and she writes out this helpful,insightful guide to all who are goth or enjoy goth.
Therese
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute book - I came across a copy at the local used bookstore, otherwise I probably wouldn't have sought it out, since I'm guessing most of the material is more or less online. But a fun read since I have a lot of friends who run in gothy circles and am a fan of the music and fashion.
Devi
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was massive shortlasting fun with really interesting facts I didn't know yet and with facts that made me smile a lot. Jillian Venters has a really entertaining writing style. A perfect book for times when I don't have the moood for reading novels at all.
Andrea Delesdernier
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is so much fun. Makes my inner and outer Goth smile. It deals with history, fashion, and etiquette.
Alesia
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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"!

Michael Hanscom
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humor
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
Rae
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1
Out of the few books relating to the goth subculture, I found this one to be fairly decent.

This is book is written to help those who aren't goth but interested in learning more about the subculture or help educate them better to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of, as well for those who are goth but need advice on how to deal with the non-goths whole seem to look down on and hold negative views on the goth subculture.

The author seems more upbeat and entertaining, which makes it much
...more
Maria Giakoumatos
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a Seattle native, it's impossible to miss Jillian Venters' beautiful gothic Victorian dresses at local conventions and gothy events. The few times I spoke with her, she was nothing but sweet, kind, and modest - making her the perfect goth rolemodel and author for Gothic Charm School. Bubbly, playfully snarky, and - of course - polite, Gothic Charm School is a great book for those new or interested in the goth scene, or for anyone looking for a fun and interesting read.
Sam Bux Romatet
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
im tempted to give it 2.5 stars but there wasnt really that much /wrong/ with it. i found myself rolling my eyes a lot but that was more to do with me as a person. i liked a couple of chapters but wasn't that interested in the rest. unlike most people i actually do like the way she refers to herself in the third person
Jessica Hobson
Truly Essential

Jillian is amazing. As a longtime blog reader, I've been a fan since the early days, and am so grateful this book exists. It is a delightful, sane template of polite behavior that encourages spooks and non-shpooks to co-exist in peace and civility.
Bless you, Lady.
Alaska
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
A very quick and easy read, maybe better described as a primer for people just discovering goth culture. The book tended to be a bit repetitive for me and seemed to have very little value for someone who isn’t brand new to the world of goths.
Zara Mcaspurren
Fun Read

A fun little read. Gives a bit of history of the Goth subculture, some cool recommendations for things to check out, and basic helpful hints on how to deal with the world while being Goth. Like I said, a fun read.
Helena Bradford
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A little repetitive at times but it didn't phase me. It was fun, informative, exploratory and well put together. I like the sarcasm in the authors voice too, I think some may confuse it as sharply critical but it's not. She's just blunt and playful. Would love another!
Anne
Jan 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Only tangenitally related to goth culture, this seems to be more of a guide to the kind of basic social skills that most people have learned by the time they're 12.
Katharine
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Had some interesting bits of information, but the snarky-cute style of the narrative did get a wee bit repetitive. The illustrations dispersed through the pages were a nice touch.
Emily
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed this book - it's a charming read. The author gets a little snobby and a little redundant sometimes, but it's not so much that I didn't like the book.
Whimsy
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting read if you are new to the gothic sub-culture.
Kelley Something
Dec 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I would love this, but the repetition was intolerable. This came across as a draft, in need of much editing.
Yvonne
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Slightly condescending and definitely geared towards a much younger audience. Mediocre at best.
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Are you still Goth and how old are you? 1 3 Sep 21, 2017 10:29AM  

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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