Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins
Tom Violet’s life is a lot different from what he thought it would be at thirty-five. His job in corporate America is about as depressing as possible, his marriage has so many problems he doesn’t even know where to start, and the novel he’s spent years perfecting is sitting in a drawer because he doesn’t have the confidence to get it published. His father, an actual published author, has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and despite this success has marital issues of his own, so is staying with Tom for the time being. Despite all of this, Tom is determined to turn things around for himself … if he can only get around to it.
I’ve been hearing good things about Domestic Violets since its release, so when the fabulous Heather loaned me her copy, I picked it up right away. I’m here to tell you that the hype you may have heard about this book is completely accurate – Domestic Violets is hilariously funny with a surprising amount of depth as well.
Tom Violet is the kind of character you can’t help but root for. He’s essentially a good guy who, at thirty-five, is still trying to figure out his place in the world. He would like to have a better relationship with his wife. He would like to quit his job and publish his novel. He would like to stop crushing on his twenty-something coworker. Yet he can’t seem to do any of these things. His struggle to make changes despite feeling completely stuck, while laced with moments of hilarity, was heartwarming and actually inspiring. The insights that Tom eventually gains into his own life are surprisingly poignant and he ended up showing real growth as a character.
I can’t quite describe what made Domestic Violets so compelling, but for whatever reason I was completely drawn into this story and had extreme difficulty putting it down. I think it’s a combination of the realistically flawed characters, excellent writing, and perfect pacing that kept my attention so well. Whatever the specifics, I was captivated by this novel and loved every second I spent with it. I very highly recommend it!