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Book Cover Image: Domestic Violets by Matthew NormanTitle: Domestic Violets

Author: Matthew Norman

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):

“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.”

Thoughts: Tom Violet has a job that is slowly crushing his soul, and his marriage is not quite as easy and comfortable as it should be after so many years together. To top it off, his famous father has upped the ante by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Suddenly, Tom finds himself running headlong into the boredom that defines his professional life, the uncertainty that surrounds his marriage, and the jealousy that surrounds his relationship with his father. How he handles it all is the brilliance behind Matthew Norman’s Domestic Violets.

Tom is very much the everyman, someone who feels his or her dreams are realistic and achievable. Tom is not going through a mid-life crisis; at age 35, he is not old enough for that yet. However, his father’s success forces him to reevaluate his life while he is still young enough to be able to change the trajectory of it. The success of the novel lies in Tom’s ability to see the ridiculousness of his situation and his slow realization of what he needs to do about it. Tom is seeking what everyone is seeking – a chance to be happy and fulfilled – and, even if the reader does not aspire to become a published author, his struggles are just as relevant.

For those who are currently caught up in the rat race that is the current business environment, Domestic Violets is wickedly funny and oh-so-timely. Mr. Norman’s satirical nod at the overuse of buzzwords, the lack of compassion from those high up on the corporate food chain, economic uncertainty and its impact on the work environment is scarily accurate, but he excels at showing the idiocy of it all. He gets what it is like to hear the same meaningless words repeatedly. He understands that companies make the wrong decisions for no reason other than because they can. He captures what it does to the human psyche when a company who earns billions of dollars each year cuts employees, benefits, or other costs, citing a need to tighten belts and conserve money. Domestic Violets is a bit like a hybrid between the movies OFFICE SPACE and AMERICAN BEAUTY except for the literary crowd. It is a must-read for those who feel the monotony of business life and are unconsciously searching for something more meaningful in life.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and of for my review copy!

For others’ views of Domestic Violets, please check out the various stops on the tour:

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