Book: Domestic Violets
Author: Matthew Norman
Length: 11h 0m
My Rating: 5/5
2013 Reading Challenges: 2013 Audio Book Challenge; New Authors Challenge 2013; 2013 Books About Books Challenge
I’d Recommend to: My bestie, the guys of The League
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.
Domestic Violets may be my favorite book this year. First off, the book starts with a scene that is equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious: an in-depth look at Tom Violet trying to have sex with his wife. Norman captures the neuroses and melancholy through the lens of dark comedy – and that’s just the first scene. It gets better from there.
Tom Violet is one of those guys that you kind of dislike, but can’t really commit to full-on hating. There’s just too much about him that reminds you of someone you know (maybe even yourself). Tom’s an underdog to everyone, even himself. Watching him try to figure out how to overcome his own insecurities – and, let’s face it, mistakes – is not only entertaining, it’s thought-provoking. His supporting cast and archnemesis are well-rounded, well-developed characters. The few moments with literary giant Zuckerman (the “rival” for Tom’s father, Curtis) are some of my favorite, and his interaction with Tom involves a huge reveal I didn’t see coming, but made sense in the context of Norman’s world. This reveal has huge implications for almost all of the characters, and the reactions by some brought tears to my eyes.
The Last Line:
Domestic Violets has something for everyone – in spades.