Review: Domestic Violets
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Publisher: Harper Perennial
From the cover:
Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.
The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety.
Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.) Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.
I could sum up my review of Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman in three simple symbols: !!!.
Domestic Violets was purely hilarious, mind blowingly brilliant, true at heart, and absolutely wonderful to the point that it left me speechless. I know there’s three more months left before the year ends, but I’m not afraid to claim that this is for sure going to be my favorite book of 2011. I highly doubt that I will run across another book that made me laugh yet moved me the way Domestic Violets did.
I knew Matthew Norman was going to join Jonathan Tropper and Jess Walter as one of my favorite authors when I couldn’t even get past the first chapter without wanting to mark up every page. I don’t do it often, but every now and then I run across passages that are so brilliant and funny that I just have to mark it so that I can come back to it later. I finished the book a few days ago and yet I still find myself flipping through the book and reading my favorite passages again and again. And a sign to Norman’s true brilliance and humor, I still laugh every time I read it.
The sarcasm, the wit, the ongoing monologue that went through Tom’s head, I loved all of it and I savored every last word in this book. To put it simply, this book was absolutely hilarious. The kind of funny that left me crying and gasping for air. And yet, despite all the humor that was in this book, at the heart of the story was a man trying to be a father, a husband, and a son, while achieving his dream and trying to accomplish more with his life. I loved the relationship he had with his daughter, wife, and father. There was a moment that he had with his daughter that practically moved me to tears. I could say the same about the moments he shared with his father and his wife.
What really stands out in this book, however, is the amazing cast of characters. Every single character in this book no matter how small their role was came off the page and they all felt so alive. The people in this book are people we run into everyday, people we meet on the bus to work, people we run across at the grocery store, people that are living next door to us or maybe living with us. While I was reading this book I couldn’t help but think Brandon is just like my friend Jenni and Greg is spot on for my brother’s coworker.
Normally when I run across a book that I love this much, the first thing I want to do is read the author’s backlist. Unfortunately, this is his first novel, which leaves me to wonder, is it too soon to ask him when he’s releasing his next book?
Honestly, you need to stop reading this review and go pick up a copy of Domestic Violets right now and read it. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.