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Review: Domestic Violets

September 6, 2011

Poor Tom Violet, things aren’t going so great for him right now.  He and his wife are trying to have another baby but he’s suffering from erectile dysfunction, so that’s not happening.  Tom feels stuck in a job that he hates, but also feels an attraction to a young co-worker.  Tom’s father has left his latest wife and shown up at his doorstep announcing that he’s won the Pulitzer Prize.  Tom dreams of being an author himself but doesn’t want to lurk in his father’s shadows.  A series of events make Tom evaluate his life and choose the direction he wants it to go in.

I finished Domestic Violets, by Matthew Norman, a few days ago and it’s still on my mind.  On the surface, it’s a humorous story of a man suffering an early mid-life crisis of sorts, but it’s really so much more than that.  It’s about marriage, a father/son relationship, not settling for less, and following your dreams, among other things.  There are a lot of layers to this book, so it would make a fabulous book club pick.

The story is told in the first person by Tom and he is a fabulous character.  Sarcastic and witty, he had me laughing from the very first page.  He feels torn between his responsibilities and his dreams and, at times, it’s hard not to relate to him.  I certainly found myself rooting for him and urging him to make the right decisions.

I loved the way this book tackles the subject of relationships – between spouses as well as parents and children.  While Tom’s worried about not living up to his father’s standard, he’s also worrying about establishing a good relationship with his young daughter.  He also finds himself walking a fine line between his parents and his step-parents.  Then there’s his relationship with the people at work, especially one young woman.  I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that our relationships seem to be getting more and more complicated as I read this book.

There was enough tension in Domestic Violets to keep me turning the pages as fast as I could.  I just loved the way Norman told the story with a touch of humor.  Don’t let that fool you though, there’s a lot to this book – it’s one you won’t want to miss!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
49 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 5:37 am

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this book. Glad you enjoyed it as much as it seems all else have.

  2. September 6, 2011 6:05 am

    I’m seeing this one everywhere, suddenly. Glad to hear it’s a page-turner. I need that to be able to read anything longer than a one-page poem right now!

  3. September 6, 2011 6:11 am

    I love that it has two levels. The wit and sarcasm would appeal to me completely. I love the title – it made me laugh.

  4. September 6, 2011 6:13 am

    I am so glad that you loved this one! It is hard not to really relate to, and like Tom. He is really such a versatile character, and like you said, he was really defined by his relationships. Wonderful review, Kathy!

  5. September 6, 2011 6:30 am

    I’m glad you liked the book. I’m heading to the library to pick it up today. It’s been on hold for awhile.

  6. September 6, 2011 7:10 am

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this one. Glad you enjoyed it. I’ll keep this one in mind.

  7. September 6, 2011 7:54 am

    I need to get this book, I’ve been hearing such great things about it. Thanks, Kathy, for another great review!

  8. September 6, 2011 8:01 am

    I can’t wait to try this one, I’m definitely going to look for it at my library today. Great review 🙂

  9. September 6, 2011 8:02 am

    I’ve been seeing some great reviews of this book, including this one. I really need to read it — sounds like something I’d really enjoy.

  10. September 6, 2011 8:07 am

    Everytime I read a review of this book, I am reminded of “This is Where I Leave You”. Have you read this? OMG it is so awesome. Like, spit-out-your-drink funny, but also very touching. For some reason, I love reading about MEN going through mid-life crisis. I’m tired of hearing about the women.

  11. September 6, 2011 8:09 am

    I loved this book! I’m so glad you enjoyed it as well. Definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

  12. September 6, 2011 8:50 am

    I’m always on the lookout for book club picks. Glad to know this one would fit the bill!

  13. September 6, 2011 8:50 am

    I’m really eager to read this one. Terrific review, Kathy!

  14. September 6, 2011 8:53 am

    I’ve heard only wonderful things about this novel. I really need to pick up a copy asap!

  15. September 6, 2011 9:36 am

    This is a book I need to find! 🙂 Sounds like the right mix of humor and seriousness.

  16. September 6, 2011 9:43 am

    Like sandynawrot, I got tired of all the women in their mid-life crises and am glad to see it’s the men’s turn. Funny though, how all of a sudden E.D. got to be the fad. Anyway, I’ve seen other reviews of this book and had already put it on my list because it sounds very funny.

  17. September 6, 2011 10:21 am

    Great review! I adored this book for so many of the reasons that you mentioned!

  18. September 6, 2011 10:31 am

    I started this book and then LOST it! Fortunately, the kids are back to school this week, so I’m sure I’ll unearth it (yes, it’s lost IN MY HOUSE).

    I agree w/Sandy – it’s refreshing to read a novel about men and their mid-life challenges; women’s stories can be so cliched.

  19. September 6, 2011 10:36 am

    I requested and received Domestic Violets on NetGalley and then I had a hard time getting into it! Ack! I’m glad you liked it, and I’ll try to get back to it based on your recommendation. 🙂

  20. thebookishdame permalink
    September 6, 2011 10:44 am

    Doesn’t sound like something I’d ordinarily choose to read, but your review makes me want to! LOL I love sarcasim, too. Everyone needs a little light humor like that!

    Thanks for being there for me, dear friend. Deborah/TheBookishDame

  21. September 6, 2011 11:18 am

    This sounds really good. I love books with layers.

  22. September 6, 2011 12:04 pm

    I can’t believe Dawn lost it! How funny! Although I “lost” Crooked Letter, actually GOT another one so my husband could read it too, and then FOUND it immediately afterward!

  23. September 6, 2011 12:30 pm

    This one seems to be popular, thanks! for sharing.

  24. September 6, 2011 12:51 pm

    I have this on my kindle and can’t wait to read it!

  25. September 6, 2011 1:30 pm

    This was such a fun book to read. So interesting to read about these relationships from a man’s perspective. You have to like a book that will make you laugh out loud!

  26. September 6, 2011 1:40 pm

    Any book that makes you want to turn the pages faster is a good one! This sounds like a book I need to get my hands on!

  27. September 6, 2011 2:03 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Kathy. I thought it was wonderful. I like how you pointed out that it’s a multi-layered story. Matthew Norman is very taleneted. I cannot wait to see what he writes next!

  28. September 6, 2011 3:38 pm

    Looks like an interesting read Kathy and one I might need to look into. I find it interesting if not helpful to “get into” the head of a male at times to better understand my own relationships with the men who come into my life for various reasons. The mid-life crisis is definitely one of those I’d like to better understand.

  29. September 6, 2011 3:51 pm

    I am totally saying no way, but then this little voice in my head is saying why not 😉

  30. September 6, 2011 5:32 pm

    I love the way you wrote about this book!!!

  31. September 6, 2011 5:52 pm

    sounds pretty fantastic to me. I love looking at relationships from a male’s POV. I’m so glad that I got this one from NetGalley!!

  32. September 6, 2011 7:13 pm

    It looks like this book has all kinds of interesting subplots!

  33. September 6, 2011 7:59 pm

    I listened to the audio book and it was one of the best books I’ve listened to all year. The narrator did a wonderful job. I was laughing so often while listening that my husband wanted to know what was so funny in the kitchen!

  34. September 6, 2011 8:09 pm

    This book seems to be universally beloved. I’m going to have to read it soon.

  35. September 6, 2011 10:17 pm

    This book sounds a lot more substantial than I expected. I read another fab review of this book recently and am now eager to check this out.

  36. September 7, 2011 1:42 am

    this one sounds really good! and how true it is that our relationships, heck our whole lives, ARE getting so much more complicated. what a great review Kathy!

  37. September 7, 2011 9:07 am

    I loved this book! So glad you enjoyed it as well.

  38. September 7, 2011 11:48 am

    I’m glad to hear it’s humorous; otherwise, Tom’s life sounds a bit too depressing to stomach! Glad you enjoyed it.

  39. September 7, 2011 4:44 pm

    I agree. There is much more to this book than meets the eye.

  40. September 7, 2011 7:07 pm

    I am glad you wound up enjoying this so much!

  41. September 7, 2011 7:48 pm

    i’m so excited about this book! i just got my copy of the book yesterday and i can’t wait to read it. i’m trying to finish the books i already have my nose in right now so that i can get started on that one.

  42. September 7, 2011 7:55 pm

    Everyone seems to really enjoy this book. I will have to put it on my list to read.

  43. September 7, 2011 8:49 pm

    Ah ha! Another one bites the dust! :O) I’m really glad that you liked this. I keep waiting for someone witha dissenting opinion…haven’t found one, yet!

  44. September 7, 2011 11:07 pm

    I loved this one 🙂

  45. September 8, 2011 1:41 pm

    Great review! Its on my TO-READ list for sure!

  46. September 9, 2011 9:26 pm

    Sounds like a very interesting book…of course it’s being added to the TBR list.

  47. September 10, 2011 7:32 pm

    I had to do a double take on the title… the double entente and was relieved it was not a violent read. Isn’t it interesting to discover a book with characters that jump out for their lives. This combination of character and plot sounds just what I need. Great review!

  48. September 10, 2011 11:29 pm

    The cover of this one has been turning me off, but if you say it’s good…

  49. September 24, 2011 9:08 pm

    I haven’t seen a bad review of this yet! I have the eBook and look forward to it.

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