Here is the text of the review, from the New York Times, February 23, 1885, page 3, column 3:
Flatland. A Romance of Many Dimensions. By A. Square. With Illustra- [sic] by the Author. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
This is a delirious book. A. Square, having lost his balance with overstudying geometry, statics, and kinetics, and having become stark mad about a line, a triangle, a pentagon, and a hexagon, has written a story about them. Take a penny and lay it on a table and leaning over it look down on it, and it is a circle. Look at it in another way, and it becomes a line. Having then your penny, your circle, and your line, construct a geometrical romance, and carry out the action in Flatland, Spaceland, and Loneland [sic]. A. Square is always asking the reader to imagine what he can't imagine; for instance, that a female in his country is a line. Imagine a line painted and her eye red with the hinder half green. Now, fancy a priest whose mouth is at M, and whose front semicircle (A M B) is consequently colored red, while his hinder semicircle is green. But the women in Flatland decline being painted, and there is a color revolt. "How I Vainly Tried to Explain the Nature of Flatland" is the title of one of the chapters of this story, and there is a terrible row between a Line and a Point, and an awful catastrophe happens when a sphere sits down on A. Square. It's a very puzzling book and a very distressing one, and to be enjoyed possibly by about six, or at the outside seven, persons in the whole of the United States and Canada. A. Square has a brother, and that brother "has not yet grasped the nature of the third dimension, and frankly avows his disbelief in the existence of a sphere." May we remark that we love that brother? and if he had not existence in this geometrical romance we should go many miles to shake hands with him. Some little sense is apparent in an appeal for a better education for women, but beyond that all the rest of Flatland is incomprehensible.