Oh am I happy to share this book with you. I really am. It's very rare that you find a male author who's not only a good writer but funny. And not just that, but one that can give you a story you can't put down because it's honest and relatable. But Matthew Norman does just that. If you are a man who's married or has been married- you will probably relate to this book and very much enjoy it.
Domestic Violets- Matthew Norman
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
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.
Without going into the personal trials of my own marriage, I will tell you that this is such a close description of it that it's almost kind of alarming. And I say alarming because to read it from an outsider perspective it makes living it to be a little harsher.
So let me talk about all of the things I really loved about this book in the hopes to sway you to read it. Because I really believe this book highlights the typical marriage so well but what makes this book different is that it shows that adults can be rational, can forgive, and can work towards something better rather than just say, "Screw you, I want a divorce!" because that's just a trigger reaction for someone who isn't willing to be an adult and work through something.
1. Can I just say I really loved Tom Violet? I did. He reminds me so much of Matt from his previous job that reading it in this perspective made me really understand what he was trying to tell me all along but never really could.
2. I appreciated his wife Anna because I knew exactly what she would have been feeling and although I didn't make the choices she does, I certainly wanted to.
3. I loved how funny this book was. It was such a real humor that it feels like this is your buddy calling you up to vent about something and you totally sympathize.
4. Can I just say I love how he resigns? Epic.
5. I loved the ending. I really did. There are not many books that end in a way that makes me think about it long after I finish the book. Was it just fates way of leading his life down another direction? The father and son dynamic of it makes me think of when one door closes, another opens, but in this case, when one generation bows out, another comes in.
One of my favorite passages of the book hit me because it's true. You know this author is married because nobody who is single will ever totally get this:
" Anna and I maneuver through our small bathroom, going about our nighttime routines of brushing and moisturizing. Tonight, we've managed to do it in complete silence. Married silence is a specific kind of silence, typically one in which the woman goes mute while the man pretends as if it's perfectly normal that she hasn't spoken in hours. In the face of conflict with their wives, most men choose to remain oblivious and passive, and I'm no different. Our shoulders touch as she scrubs her face with these little medicated pads. I say excuse me and drop my used floss in the garbage bin. We could be traveling salespeople, sharing a bathroom for some strange reason."
That right there? Is just a sampling of the realistic humor that married people just get and can identify with. I'm so excited to read another Matthew Norman novel because he's got such a talent that can weave a story that sounds like it's a memoir but bring humor to serious situations and it's all good. Everything about this book was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.