Domestic Violets – Matthew Norman

19 Mar

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.

So, Domestic Violets had possibly one of the most wonderful opening scenes I have ever read. It was honest and awkward and funny and awkward. Did I mention awkward? Yeah, I won’t tell you what it’s about because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it was pretty amazing. In an awkward way.

The rest of the book was also filled with wonderfully awkward moment that were just REAL, you know? Cuz my life? Yeah, full of the awkward. Just ask my husband. Or my mom. Or anyone that knows me.  Awkward could be my middle name. So I could identify, maybe not with the exact awkwardness Tom Violet was going through, but the fact that things in his life were somewhat messy.

Tom was such a great character, flaws and all. I loved his voice and the fact that most of the time he came off as funny without being pretentious. Sometimes that’s hard to do, and it’s a nod to Norman’s talent.

Tom’s relationship with all of the secondary characters were essential to the main story and very well fleshed out, but I think it’s his interactions with his arch-nemesis Gregory that I loved the most. I mean, most of us have, at some point, had a Gregory in our lives. And Tom’s reaction to Gregory, what he says and does, well, it’s AWESOME. Most of us only dream of dishing out the miserableness. But Tom? He’s a dick to Gregory and he knows it. Loved it.

I also loved Tom’s dad. He’s such a douche and a drunk and a sleaze but I loved him.

Ah, I loved the whole book. I mean, LOVED it. I was surprised by how much I was drawn into Tom’s life. The story was big and brash and crude and -here comes that word again – awkward. But the writing was gorgeous and the telling was true.

Thank so much to Catherine McKenize for suggesting I give Domestic Violets a go and HarperCollins Canada for the review copy.

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2 Responses to “Domestic Violets – Matthew Norman”

  1. jmchshannon March 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    This was one of my favorite books from last year. I could so relate to Tom. I just thought the entire book was hilarious.

    • lavenderlines March 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      I was really surprised by how much I loved it. I don’t read a lot of books with a male protag.

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