Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Published by: Harper Perennial
Published on: August 2011
Page Count: 352
My Reading Format: Paperback copy purchased from a local indie bookseller
Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, audiobook
I had a hard time getting my hands on Domestic Violets. I was bound and determined to buy it from an bookstore in my area, preferably an indie. Unfortunately that is easier said than done. The first store I entered didn’t have a new book published this year (or since 2003 it looked like) that wasn’t from a huge author such as Jodi Picoult. It felt more like a museum exhibit of an indie bookstore than a true bookstore. As the Barnes and Noble was on the way back to work, I stopped in there. Not a single copy was available. Finally, I called the final indie bookstore in the area, which gladly ordered it for me. I definitely felt like I’d run the gauntlet by the time I actually got my hands on my copy.
Domestic Violets was well worth the effort and wait. This novel about a wannabe writer’s marital and career crisis was entertaining from the very first chapter. Tom’s inner dialog is fantastic. While one shouldn’t laugh at another person’s erectile dysfunction, I couldn’t help myself. His work life was even more hilarious. I loved the way that Tom drafted complaints about him to HR from his coworkers. Sometimes those types of coping techniques are essential to surviving. This is not to say that this book is one laugh after the other. Serious subjects are broached and the novel questions the validity of marriage, the importance of faithfulness, and what it means to be successful.
Domestic Violets, as it turns out, was the last book I started in my 30s and the first book I finished in my 40s. I highly recommend reading it on a cruise ship or while relaxing in a hammock on your own private Caribbean island. It’s a quirky and ultimately optimistic look at modern life and marriage. I certainly hope this won’t be my last Matthew Norman read. I’m thinking I might have to use each of his next books as occasions to go on a cruise (No pressure, Mr. Norman!).