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Domestic Violets ~ Matthew Norman

August 26, 2011

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
352 pages
ISBN: 9780062065117
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

If I could describe Domestic Violets in one word, it would be: hilarious.

If I could use two, they’d be: brutally honest

Matthew Norman’s Everyman tale of Thomas Violet, a D.C. copywriter, is anything but regular. In a story that reads like a cross between Office Space and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Norman seriously nails his first novel.

Stuck in a dead-end, lack luster job, Violet is forever in the shadow of his famous, prize-winning writer of a dad and in constant pursuit of some small strand of success to grasp that is truly his own. His marriage is floundering under the pressures of middle age and his relationships with his co-workers, specifically a perky 20 something, named Katie, leave much to be desired.

Domestic Violets reflects on those existential questions we hate to ask ourselves but always dwell on. Tom’s hopeless, yet relentless self-deprecation provides most of the witty prose for the novel. Though the writing is sparkling and well, novel-worthy, it could easily be the inner monologue of any cubicle-bound Joe with unfulfilled dreams.

Even though I weigh in about ten years younger than Tom and find myself in a very different life position, I have to say that there are inherent questions and problems brought up in the book that I found myself nodding along to. Insecurity and uncertainty are the major forces of nature on the surface but there is also an unrelenting voice of urgent self-fulfillment that carries Tom through the novel’s more impressive parts.

For some reason, this reminded me, at moments, of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad. I think most of that stems from the way in which both books look at stress, success, failure and the simple, mundane parts of life. I think that somewhere between Generation X and the Millennials (hey, that’s me!) we were all told that we should want “more” out of life. You know, like having a simple 9-5 wasn’t good enough and that we should strive to have the very best we could possibly imagine. For me, these books both reflect and poke fun of that impossible ideal.

I really enjoyed this and I hope that Matthew Norman has more of this wonderful stuff in the works. I highly recommend this to anyone who has ever had a job, a life or a dream. No, seriously. Just read it.

Oh, you also can’t just take my word for it. Check out Matthew Norman’s other tour stops:

About Matthew Norman

Matthew Norman is an advertising copywriter. He lives with his wife and daughter in Baltimore. Domestic Violets is his first novel.

Matthew’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 9: Rundpinne

Tuesday, August 9: Like Fire

Wednesday, August 10: Life In Review

Thursday, August 11: BookNAround

Friday, August 12:  The House of the Seven Tails

Monday, August 15: Colloquium

Tuesday, August 16: Raging Bibliomania

Wednesday, August 17: Book Chatter

Thursday, August 18: Teresa’s Reading Corner

Monday, August 22: The Bodacious Pen

Tuesday, August 23: StephTheBookworm

Tuesday, August 23: Write Meg

Wednesday, August 24: I’m Booking It

Thursday, August 25: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Friday, August 26: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Monday, August 29: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, August 30: My Life in Not So Many Words

Thursday, September 1: That’s What She Read

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 8:43 am

    I don’t think I’ve read a bad thing about this book. It’s near the top of my TBR pile, so I should be reading it soon, and I can’t wait!

  2. August 26, 2011 10:21 am

    I agree with Kathy – there are no bad reviews to be found on this one!

  3. August 26, 2011 10:56 am

    Brutally honest is a great way to describe it. I was surprised as how much I liked this book. It’s not usually the type of book I go for.

  4. August 26, 2011 12:02 pm

    I totally dig and understand your comparison of this one to Goon Squad. That’s a very astute observation. I loved this book as well, and thought that Norman did a fabulous job with Tom and his other characters. It was such a great read for me, and I am glad that you loved it too!

  5. August 26, 2011 9:08 pm

    I’ve seen this everywhere and everyone loves it. For some reason, I’m still on the fence about whether or not to read it!
    2 Kids and Tired Books

  6. August 26, 2011 10:09 pm

    Ooh, I like your one- and two-word reviews … makes me wonder what you’d say if you were allowed three words — “just read it!” ?

    DOMESTIC VIOLETS is on my TBR; maybe just the book to hunker down with during this weekend’s hurricane!

  7. August 30, 2011 9:37 pm

    Everyone seems to love this book. I’m going to have to read it.

  8. August 31, 2011 3:23 pm

    “hilarious” and “brutally honest” sound like a fantastic combination to me!

    Glad you enjoyed this one – I can’t wait to read it myself.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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