Summary: 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. ~amazon.com
Review: You know how you hear hype about something, you buy into it and then you get disappointed that it really wasn't worth the hype? Yeah, not with this brilliant debut novel by Matthew Norman. Domestic Violets is honest, raw, brilliant, funny and relevant. Immediately you like Tom Violet. He is perfectly flawed and brutally honest from the first page. You can't help but identify with him on some level, regardless of your gender. You root for him and at times you want to smack him. He is your brother, your best friend, you or perhaps your husband. Perhaps you are Anna, his wife and this could be your marriage. Perhaps it's not your marriage but you can understand how some one's marriage could get to where Tom and Anna are.
I found myself laughing throughout the book and then found myself getting choked up on the next page. Mr. Norman takes you through a variety of emotions as we tag along with Tom on his journey of self-discovery. Not only is Tom well-developed but the cast of other characters jump off the pages as well. Curtis Violet, Tom's famous author father, could have easily become a caricature but he didn't.
This novel has so many facets that it touches: work, love, dreams, family and realizing what you want out of your life. Mr. Norman has a gift for writing prose and he's witty. He also is honest and perhaps it's not what those of us in our 30s and married want to hear. Here is a passage that I loved:
A women never wants to be with someone else. Not really. That's the business of men, and for some reason we destroy things because of it. But not them. They're better than us. They only choose someone else when we push them away. ~page 244
It's like he had a way of getting into women's psyches. I could sit here and quote the book, but instead you just need to read it.
There are a few surprises along the way and by the end of the book I was crying and I couldn't stop. Not because it was particularly sad but because it was real, true and honest. By the end of the book you are connected to these characters and their lives; you want them to be ok.
I haven't read anything like Domestic Violets before and I'm pretty sure I won't read another thing like it again.
I urge you to run out and get yourself a copy, I really don't think that you'll regret it.
Final Take: 5/5
If I had a rating higher than 5 this book would get it!
I also want to thank fellow book bloggers who continually raved about this book on Twitter, causing me to get my hands on it.