#378 ~ Domestic Violets

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Published by: Harper Perennial

Published on: August 2011

Page Count: 352

Genre: Fiction

My Reading Format: Paperback copy purchased from a local indie bookseller

Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, audiobook

My Review

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!).



  • At 2011.10.31 06:27, Sandy said:

    I’m liking this trend of men in midlife crisis. Somehow, it is funny, even though it shouldn’t be. Have you read either This Is Where I Leave You or The Financial Lives of the Poets? Same deal. These men are hapless, but really endearing for their earnest attempts to fix themselves.

    • At 2011.11.04 19:49, Jennifer said:

      I don’t have This Is Where I Leave You, but I have The Financial Lives of Poets on my shelf. I have heard that book has been optioned for a movie, so there’s double the reason to read it.

    • At 2011.10.31 08:06, rhapsodyinbooks said:

      I enjoyed this as well. My husband started it and DNF’d it – I wonder if it makes males more uncomfortable! :–)

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      • At 2011.11.04 19:50, Jennifer said:

        Ahahaha! I wonder if he’s worried something might be contagious through the printed page. Men. They’re so silly!

      • At 2011.10.31 08:50, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

        There were times I felt bad for laughing at Tom, but I just couldn’t help it. I loved this book too.

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        • At 2011.11.04 19:51, Jennifer said:

          You know, his self-deprecating humor made it okay to laugh along, didn’t it? Thank God he had a sense of humor about himself.

        • At 2011.10.31 09:01, Beth Hoffman said:

          I have this one on my list; so glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer!

          • At 2011.11.04 19:52, Jennifer said:

            I think you’ll love it too, Beth!

          • At 2011.10.31 12:17, Julie said:

            I LOVED, LOVED this book. It will definitely be one of my favorites for 2011.

            • At 2011.11.04 19:52, Jennifer said:

              Among the best of the year is such high praise! Hooray!

            • At 2011.10.31 12:20, Anita said:

              I have this on my shelf, I won it from a blog, I don’t tend to read many male writers, sounds sexist doesn’t it? I am going to have to move this one up based one some reliable reviews. Thanks so much.

              • At 2011.11.04 19:53, Jennifer said:

                There are some people who make a point to only read one gender or the other. Luckily, there is a ton of good stuff for those who “pick sides” and those who flit promiscuously from side to side. LOL!

              • At 2011.10.31 16:55, jenn aka the picky girl said:

                I love this book so very much. Cracked me up, and like you, I am looking forward to his next one.

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                • At 2011.11.04 19:54, Jennifer said:

                  Come on, Matthew! The Jennifers are waiting on you!!!

                • At 2011.11.01 00:01, Kailana said:

                  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book!

                  • At 2011.11.04 19:54, Jennifer said:

                    I was very happy with it, especially after my adventure buying it.

                  • At 2011.11.02 02:21, Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting said:

                    I don’t think I’ve heard a bad thing about this book so far. Thanks for the review :)

                    • At 2011.11.04 19:55, Jennifer said:

                      It’s fun, Stephanie. I hope you get your hands on a copy.

                    • At 2011.11.03 17:42, Lilian Nattel said:

                      It sounds like great fun–the title made me laugh.

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                      • At 2011.11.04 19:55, Jennifer said:

                        The title is great. There current be a more perfect title for this book.

                      • At 2011.11.05 21:05, Tami said:

                        I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book, I’m going to have to check the library. Thanks for the review.

                        • At 2011.11.12 02:03, Rachel said:

                          I loved this book too. I’m going to have my husband read it and see what he thinks – I wonder if men find it as funny? I can’t wait to read whatever Norman comes out with next!

                          • At 2012.05.01 05:26, Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman said:

                            […] ***This is a book I picked up thanks to so many great reviews, including those from Booking Mama, Rhapsody in Books, and Literate Housewife. […]

                            (Required, will not be published)

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