Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

It can't be easy living in the shadow of a famous author parent, especially when deep down, you want nothing so much as to write too. Thirty-five year old Tom Violet has been writing a novel for years, a little afraid his work won't be as good as his father's. After all, Curtis Violet has won all the major literary prizes and has now finally won the Pulitzer for fiction. But Tom has more than just his fears about writing inadequacies to worry about. The novel opens with him in the bathroom bemoaning his flaccid penis while his wife patiently waits for him in their bed, his erectile dysfunction merely a symptom of a larger problem in their marriage. He loathes his work as a copywriter stuck in a soul-sucking corporate job in the midst of the financial meltdown. If Tom had ever grown-up, he might be having a midlife crisis, as it is, and despite his actual age, he's just coming of age into the messiness of life and wondering how he got to where he is now.

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.


  1. I can't wait to read this one. I have such high hopes, so fingers crossed my expectations will be met!

  2. I just recently started this, but I haven't had a lot of reading time lately. I am hoping it will be good!

  3. This one sounds quite refreshing and entertaining! Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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