“Domestic Violets” by Matthew Norman

Aug 26, 2011 by

"Domestic Violets" by Matthew NormanTom Violet seems to have a lot going on in his life right now.  Or maybe it is just all the little things are coming to a head, all at the very same time.  He loves his wife, and really wants to make love to her, maybe even make another baby….  but his body just isn’t cooperating.  He hates his middle-management job at a company known by initials, even though no one knows what it is the company actually does.  He wants to be a writer, but is afraid of following in his celebrated award-winning author father’s footsteps.  The truth of it is, he just expected more of himself by this point in his life, and he’s just not sure where that places him now.

Let me just get this out there from the start, so there is no question.  I loved this book.  I love Tom Violet.  He is so funnily snarky that I was constantly laughing out loud, or snarfing whatever liquid I was drinking through my nose.  Hey, it happens.  There are parts of this book that echo Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You, coincidentally enough – another book I enjoyed immensely.  It isn’t the same though…. and while there is the snarky bitterness throughout the text, there isn’t the underlying anger.  If a gun were placed to my head and I were forced to choose between them, I would pick Domestic Violets.  


Tom is a great character, even beyond the humor which I so obviously love.  He is so perfectly real – I know I worked with a guy or two like him when I used to spend my days in Cubeville.  I really liked the characterizations of the secondary players as well – Greg in particular.  Yeah, I used to work with that guy too.  You’ll see what I’m talking about.  The father was an interesting dynamic though…  I was never exactly sure how to feel about him.  I liked him, but I wasn’t sure that I should.  I’m not used to liking womanizers.  I’ll make an exception in his case.  But just in case I’m not fully clear here – you need to read this book.  This is definitely a book that will appeal to just about everyone I can think of.  Thank me later.

*****
Domestic Violets                                 
by Matthew Norman
Harper Perennial, 2011
352 pages
Source:  NetGalley for review

Also available at The Book Depository.

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