Friday, July 1, 2011

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

The book's synopsis from the publisher's website:

Domestic Violets: A Novel (P.S.) 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.
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book! There are many reasons why I feel so strongly about Domestic Violets but probably the most important is that it came into my life at the exact time I needed to read it. I'm sure you've heard that saying, 'Laughter is the best medicine' and it just couldn't be more accurate in the case of this book, especially if humor is combined with wit and intelligent writing. And Mr. Norman has that unique talent to make you laugh and then to make you get lost in thought and become introspective of your own life, and then, when things start getting too serious, Matthew will make you laugh again.  So, if you're in a foul mood, Domestic Violets is guaranteed to make it at least less foul, if not completely disappear.

I think that this novel is going to be a successful one (I'd honestly be shocked if it's not) because it's so relevant to our world and our times. Matthew Norman tells a story of Tom and his struggles in a very observant way. There aren't enough fingers on my hand and toes on my feet to count people I know that could identify with Tom, with his wife Anna or his coworker Katie and I know that at least 80% of you out there had a major pain-in-the-a$$ (okay, I don't know what's up with these dollar signs, I may as well just write 'ass') colleague like Gregory you had to deal with at work. The people in Domestic Violets lead our lives in one way or another, have our very real problems but thankfully, the author portrays it with enough humor that this picture of domesticity doesn't send us over the edge or land us in a straight jacket. This is the kind of contemporary American novel that the readers need more of and that there isn't enough of on the market today. Yes, there is sadness there and even tragedy (actually, the suckability factor of Tom's life is quite high at a few points) but just like with the real life, if there weren't laughter in the mix, it would really all become quite unbearable.

Anyway, Matthew Norman has a great talent and it shines in Domestic Violets. I already cannot wait for his next book and this one isn't even coming up until August. I can't think of anybody who wouldn't appreciate this novel but if my rantings haven't been completely convincing, read Matthew's blog, The Norman Nation, to get a taste of how witty and funny and gifted he really is. And then, hurry up and put Domestic Violets on order so that you can get it at your doorsteps right after it comes out on August 9th.

Special thanks to Harper Perennial and Net Galley for providing me with a digital copy of Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman.