Reviewed by Karin Muller
I must admit, I was a bit reluctant to read Domestic Violets. It definitely wasn’t the first on my list to review and the way it was described, I got the notion it was a man’s book. Boy was I wrong! From the first chapter Matthew Norman had me laughing. Laughing loud enough for fellow travelers to give me annoying looks. And yes, at some point I even found myself crying.
Basically the story is a very domestic one. Tom Violet is, well, kind of a normal guy, living the average life. Wife, kid, a job he hates and a father who’s difficult to ignore. And like every man living the average life, he gets tempted to step out of the box.
Tom is the kind of guy you want to take by the hand to lead him past the difficult bumps in the road. He’s that cute. And his agony is real. Even I feel his pain. Now there’s a feat! Who would have guessed the female reader could identify with a man who has difficulty performing with his wife? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Well, that’s how cleverly Matthew Norman has written it. But it’s not so much what’s happening that’s so special about this book, because we all know a midlife crisis may lead to trouble. This book is extraordinary because of the characters. And the humorous way their struggle with life is told. It’s fast-paced and funny, without ever becoming overly dramatic or unrealistic.
Matthew Norman’s style reminds me of Olivia Goldsmith, oddly enough. Albeit the male equivalent. Witty and intelligent, but most of all, a delight to read. Anybody who’s ever had a relationship (longer than a couple of weeks!) can relate to the story, man or woman. If this debut is anything to go by and Matthew Norman keeps up with this style Harper Collins may have a bestseller writer in its stables. I for one can’t wait for his next book!
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