Book Review: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Domestic Violets by Matthew NormanThis book has the type of cover that is hugely attractive to me. This is the first book by this author. The description sounded like it might be more of a man’s book, but I don’t mind that.

After reading, I think it’s equally fine to be read by women, it’s just that the main character is male.

Domestic Violets: What it is about

Tom Violet is a 36-year old copy writer in  a marketing department for a large company. No one can easily explain what the company does, it’s one of those vague services companies.

Tom isn’t enjoying his job and in his spare time he has been writing a novel. He is a bit secretive about it because his father is a famous Pullitzer-prize winning author and Tom doesn’t want to be compared with him. So he doesn’t want too many people to know about his endeavours and only shows it to his assistant Kathy, who thinks is wonderful.

Tom has a bit of a crush on Kathy but at the same time he and his wife are trying for a second baby. The trying isn’t going well, because he has a bit of a problem with the functioning of his body in the physical part of the process.

Then he has parents whose relationships (with different partners) are troubling. Tom has a lot on his plate! In this fun read, everything is eventually resolved for better or worse.

Domestic Violets: What I thought

I found this book alternately boring and enjoyable. The story is well set out and the writing is fine. It just drags every now and then.

I was reminded of The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen) while reading this book, because of the family relationships and relationships between partners, the trouble Tom was having at work, etc. The complexity of the story and the type of problems that were focused on seemed comparable.

I wasn’t a fan of The Corrections, but I enjoyed Domestic Violets more. It’s lighter and funnier, and most of the time I was keen to keep reading.

A few chapters before the end, I had already guessed what was likely to happen, but it was still interesting to see whether I was right. It was an unlikely ending, but within the framework of the book, a very satisfying resolution.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars (rounding to 4)

I got this book: from Harper publishers via Netgalley (ARC ebook)

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 352 (printed copy)

First published: 2011 (September)

Genre: contemporary fiction

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

13 Responses to Book Review: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

  1. Cindy says:

    I’ve been waiting for this review and I think I will buy this book.

  2. Nadine Nys says:

    I heard a lot about this book, but didn’t know if I would give it a try or not. Now I think I will.

  3. I’ve seen a ton of buzz about this one, but no reviews — I’ve been on the fence about it and might pass. I’m sort of not that intrigued by the premise but I’m trying to be open-minded. Thanks for the review!

  4. lomaurice says:

    I also got this in arc form. Story sounded like something I would like. I loved THE CORRECTIONS. Will look forward to it.

  5. Misha says:

    I wanted to read this book, but now I am not sure. It sounds like a one time read – a good book, but forgettable. Maybe I will try it.

  6. Pingback: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman | Picky Girl: I read. I teach. I blog. (pickily)

  7. I wasn’t blown away by this one (in the end I abandoned it a quarter of the way through) – the writing was very good and he does target some aspects of office life very humorously, but I found Tom a bit useless and were I Anna, I would have lost patience with him a long time ago!

  8. Pingback: Domestic Violets – Matthew Norman – 3/10 (DNF) | Reading Fuelled By Tea

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