Monday, August 8, 2011

Domestic Violets: By Matthew Norman



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.


Midlife crises are a common theme in the world of literary fiction. It is often comprised of a 30 to 40 something adult male who is unhappy with his life/job/wife. He is then seduced by a younger woman, who has conveniently been flirting with him for ages, and then all hell breaks loose as the ramifications of his action soon effect his work, family, and metal stability.

Domestic Violets only partially exemplifies this stereotype. Instead it focuses heavily on the seesaw between childhood and adulthood. That line between taking and giving advice from your father, and the true turn in adulthood where one realizes ones responsibility and with heavy shoulders accepts them, destroying the last plight of childhood left in ones soul.

Domestic Violets touches on all of these topics and remains true to its intent by remaining funny through out the book. Similar to Jonathan Tropper’s style of writing, Matthew Norman does a fantastic job remaining both hilarious and potent an unusually complex feat.

All in all Domestic Violets was a great read. The story sped by, the characters were interesting and dynamic, the writing humorous, and the emotions incredibly real all throughout the book. A very easy book to recommend.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Harper Perennial

Published: August 9, 2011

Price: $14.99

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