Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Yay, I’ve found another hilarious author!

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite genres is funny fiction. Christopher Moore is one of my favorite authors for this exact reason. I like books to make me laugh. It always makes me happy to discover a book that makes me actually laugh out loud, that makes me think I really need to start keeping a journal of quotes so I would have someplace to write them down and revisit. I really hope Matthew Norman writes more funny fiction. This was a fresh, witty, wonderful gem of a novel.

So, this book is about Tom Violet – a man in his mid-thirties stuck at a mindless job that slowly sucks the life out of him. He’s married but having some serious issues with his wife, has a little daughter too smart for her age, and a silly little anxiety-ridden dog. His father is a world-famous author who just won the Pulitzer Prize – right when Tom finally finishes the secret book he’s been writing for years. Tom’s life kind of sucks, but he’s ready to put his big-boy boxers on and do something about it.

You know… writing my previous review of A Visit From the Good Squad made me realize how much easier it is to write a review about something you hate. I got some comments that said it was a funny review, and I admit I have fun venting about awful books. And yet here I am reviewing a genuinely funny, wonderful book and I’m pretty sure this review is going to suck. THIS is why I was a horrible bookseller at Waldenbooks and ended up as the assistant manager – because I love books and being around them, but I’m no good at recommending them.

So I’m just gonna list the pros and cons, kay?

Love…

  • The the book is set during the financial crisis right before Obama is elected. I love how Tom remarks that even though there’s apparently a huge economic crisis, it seems like everyone’s going on pretty much the same as before. (And I like Tom’s Obama-support, and all of the election-excitement.)
  • Tom’s constant inner-monologues. For example, this on page 42 had me laughing for a while: “Greg is a tie guy, and I am a non-tie guy. This represents the rift among the males in our office – Business Casual versus Business Formal – and I’m almost certain it will eventually lead to a choreographed dance fight in the employee lounge.” Just thinking of that image makes me giggle.
  • That Tom refers to his horrible soul-sucking job as “the Death Star”.
  • That Tom in general rails against the corporate people and that working in such a meaningless job is awful. Honestly, when I worked in an office I didn’t hate my job – I was good at it, so I didn’t mind it. But then again I could actually describe what my job was in one sentence, so it wasn’t useless. Plus, I eventually made the decision to leave the office and work 12-hour days in a little shack with absolutely no possibility for advancement and I’m much happier now, so maybe he has a real good point about office jobs being evil.
  • That Tom’s a total beta-male and reminds me a bit of Christopher Moore’s characters.
  • That Tom and this book about his life actually seemed very real, despite the outlandish but awesome cast of secondary characters.
  • I really loved Tom’s journey to set his life straight – to try to succeed as a writer in his own right, to get away from the corporate world, to help his parents in their crazy love lives, and to work on his struggling marriage, and to deal with his own daddy-issues.

Didn’t love so much…

  • Most of the female characters are crazy – either mildly or like criminally insane. And most of the men appear sane, even when they’re acting like jerks.
  • This….. but it’s a big spoiler, so highlight if you want to read –> So Tom cheats on his wife Anna with Katie (a co-worker), and his wife Anna cheats on him with some guy from her gym. When Tom finds out he asks Anna to give him every single detail about why, when, where, and how she cheated, but he NEVER tells her about his own infidelity. He instead decides that what his wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her, and instead re-dedicates himself to their marriage. That was a dick move. However, it should say VOLUMES about how much I really liked this book, since I hate cheating in books. <– end spoiler.
  • That it ended! I read this book in less than a day. I’m definitely looking forward to more work from this author. Heck, I enjoyed it so much I actually read the author Q & A stuff in the back and I almost never do that!

So yeah… overall, awesome book and probably will make my top ten list for the year. Also, this is the book that my honeyman and I decided to read together this month so I can’t wait for him to read it and see what he thinks!

Sarah Says: 4 stars!

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One comment

  1. I got this for review months ago and still haven’t had the chance to read it! Your review makes me sad that it’s just been sitting on my shelf and now I MUST read it ASAP. It sounds hilarious and I love the quote that you put in there. I’m going to try to read it soon now. 🙂

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