RaveThe New York Times\"While microhistorians have long zoomed in on individual case studies, Hughes pinpoints her subjects even more narrowly ... Hughes’s blow-by-blow accounts of bowel movements, menstruation, menopause, pores and salivary glands shouldn’t be mistaken for celebrity gossip or scatological humor — though it takes guts, so to speak, to depict courtiers fat-shaming one another and guesstimating who had missed a period. Instead, her focus on the body topples great figures from their pedestals. We hear less about the words that emerged from Victoria’s mouth than about her failure to zip her lips while chewing; nothing about the visionary images sparked by Coleridge’s opium addiction, but plenty about his resulting constipation. Made rather than given, these bodies tell an engrossing story about the culture that fashioned them.\
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewWith a 4-year-old’s scatological glee, Oneill details the logistics of old-time peeing, pooping, gestating, menstruating and mating ... Oneill has dug up some lovely tidbits from the dustbin of history ... Unmentionable is lavishly illustrated, too: Oneill has an eye for ludicrous images and a penchant for punny captions ... Unfortunately, Oneill’s finds are as padded as Victorian buttocks...Her arch tone seems to suggest that the 21st century has figured out everything the naïve Victorians missed.