As Tom wrestles with the place in which he finds himself, he endears himself, in all his self-deprecating glory, to the reader. He is a bit of a jerk, needling a co-worker he hates at every opportunity and fantasizing about a young and beautiful colleague, but at heart, he is a good guy, wanting everything to come out right for others, even if he's a little afraid of that kind of success and happiness for himself. The secondary characters, his father Curtis, wife Anna, step-father Gary, daughter Allie, are all wonderful, quirky, and eminently human. Tom's overwhelming anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction with his life are very relatable for readers and his response to the setbacks he faces are perhaps the things we all wish we could do or say at one time or another. There's a magnificent dry humor at work throughout the novel and Norman has written an entertaining send-up of authors and the literary world through the person of Curtis Violet.
As the title suggests, this is a domestic-centered novel and it succeeds in all the ways that it does without the pyrotechnics of Hollywood. Refreshing, humorous, and appealing, Domestic Violets is a book that shows us our present, sends us up, and delivers the good feeling that is so hard to pull off without being too treacle. A quick and entertaining read, you'll leave its pages wishing you could meet the slightly bumbling, slightly snarky Tom Violet yourself.
For more information about Matthew Norman and the book visit his blog.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.