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on February 28, 2015
While this novel has a "primed for film" sensibility to it, the characters are compelling and language choices relatable. My sense is the Curtis Violet character was modeled on John Irving-just a guess, but again, the author manages to take a somewhat out of the ordinary experience and bring it down to earth. Well done, and a pageturner (or dare i say screenswiper?) from beginning to end.
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on June 19, 2016
Nicely written book.

Pros: The characters resonate and there is a bit of a plot that keeps you turning the pages. The author, at times uses the inside voice of Tom Violet to great advantage, making great observations that turn almost to poetry. There are several plot twists which are terrific and keep it from devolving into a deadly "literary" genre novel.

Cons: This same strength however is also over used at times which became annoying, I.e., a person says something to Tom and we read his thought processes annnnd three pages later. He answers back. At that point I'm flipping back three pages to find out what the original question was. This took me out of the story enough to make me put it down.

Overall a Good read, give it a go.
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on May 14, 2016
Very funny. Good read. I like his writing style. Recommended it to my husband and he liked it too.
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on June 16, 2012
Domestic Violets (P.S.)

While "Domestic Violets" by Matthew Norman doesn't plow any new ground not already covered by the author's favorite writer Richard Russo and others, it's still a very entertaining read, and it does tackle some delicate subjects - erectile dysfunction, marital infidelity, job dissatisfaction and loss - with humor and honesty. The "hero", Tom Violet, isn't quite Everyman, but he's someone that most men can identify with, even if most men don't have a Pulitzer Prize winning father. What sets this book apart from others in this genre is how Mr. Norman lets the reader inside Tom's head where we are treated to his sharp wit, along with his struggles to resolve problems that many middle aged men are faced with, while not allowing the humor to gloss over the seriousness of the dilemmas. Mr. Norman uses his humor as seasoning to sharpen the flavor of his tale, not overwhelm it. Where other writers might treat these problems as farce, Mr. Norman has Tom Violet face them head on, seeking solutions, not avoidance. And while some will criticize the story for not being very realistic - after all, how many men given a chance for a big promotion would fail to take the bait instead of following their dreams, - the best fiction exaggerates reality to allow readers to find the larger truth beyond mere facts. And I'm glad that Mr. Norman allowed Tom and his wife Anna to tread well down the path of infidelity, rather than making them more "virtuous", and in the process allowing the reader to reflect on what they would do in their places. In between the funny bits, I found myself reflecting on what I might do in Tom's circumstances, and being challenged to answer those questions honestly. What would I do if I found a beautiful young woman co-worker being attracted to me, especially if I was fairly certain my wife was being unfaithful? I could imagine that I would give in to the temptation, and part of me wanted Tom to do just that (I won't ruin the suspense for those who haven't read it yet). And having gone through my own mid-life crisis and having chosen to stay in my "soul sucking" job rather than pursue my dream, would I make that same choice again? I don't think this book will be nominated, let alone win, a Pulitzer, but it's one of the better books I've read in while, and I will look forward to reading more work from this very promising author.
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on May 27, 2013
I was hoping this book would never end; I wanted to 'stay' with these characters for a long, long time. The only good thing about the book ending is that I get to write a review here, encouraging more people to read it. This book had my attention, interest and laughter from the first page to the last. Just like Curtis and his fictional characters (you'll have to read the book to understand), all of the characters here were 'in the room with me.' I genuinely cared about Tom and Curtis, Anna, Allie, Kate, Maryanne, Brandon, Sonya - everyone. Even though I guessed where the end of the book was heading, it didn't diminish how happy it made me. Norman writes about a life that he clearly understands. As an English teacher, the literary allusions were fun - even Tom's dream with The Catcher in the Rye!
There is a sweetness and tenderness that Norman has for each character and it comes through consistently. I know people like them and it was very easy to feel their confusion, elation, disenchantment - whatever emotion Norman had for them that made them wonderfully and imperfectly human. This is the kind of book that you look forward to reading at the end of the day. I tried to make the book last as long as I could but, alas, I've finished. Next book, Mr. Norman?
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on September 27, 2016
I laughed, I cried, I couldn't put it down. Another reviewer came up with a category for Norman's genre: dude lit. It fits because his writing gives us gals a bit of insight into what guys are like on the inside. SInce so many other reviewers have recapped the plot, I won't bore you with with another summary. It's a feel-good book, wonderfully humorous, but at the same time, thoughtful. I Immediately downloaded this book after reading WE'RE ALL DAMAGED, and was really disappointed not to find a third book. I hope he'll be coming out with it soon; I'm really looking forward to it.
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on September 10, 2014
I randomly picked up this book, and I LOVED it. It's Norman's first book, and he managed the story masterfully. The book tells the story of a middle manager who aspires to write his first novel and leave the corporate world. His father is one of the most famous living novelists, so he casts a wide shadow across the main character's literary pursuits. But the plot isn't really as important in Domestic Violets as the characters. Norman fills the world of the book with interesting characters, and the struggles of the marriage at the center of the text seem heartfelt and real.

Oh, and the book is hilarious. It's one of the funniest things I've ever read and it manages to be funny without ever losing track of the drama of the story.
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on August 8, 2016
I read We Are All Damaged first and wondered if it was possible for an author to be so clever and original twice. Being a technical writer myself, I usually find flaws in anything I read, but Mr. Norman draws me into his narratives so completely, my critical mind takes a break. I frequently chuckle, even laugh, out loud. Hated for Domestic Violets to end, and cannot wait for more.
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on January 19, 2014
The first chapter or two of this book, though engaging, the.impression it would be a quick and frivolous read. As I progressed however, I found.myself in great sympathy with the characters which were fully depicted, down to the quirks and.imperfections we all have. Tom's 7 year old daughter was a fully fleshed.out child and I found I wanted to.keep.reading to see what she might say or do next. She was cleArly TH.most honest voice I believe of the book. Being a dog lover, I enjoyed the inclusion of the family pet ad well. Most of us have been imprisoned by a job we e dread and when Tom cut loose and flagrantly threw his job away in order to remove the veil of receipt, I was cheering for him.
This is a story about real people with real flaws. It's told by a sarcastic, semi lost man who would prefer that no one see his.misery. a good read.
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on July 24, 2017
I enjoyed reading this book immensely. It was equal parts smart, funny and poignant. I had never heard of Mathew Norman, but it came up as a recommendation when I was looking to see if there were any new Jonathan Tropper books. I am so glad I gave it a chance. It instantly entered into my top 10 all-time favorite book list and maybe even my top 5. As I read it, I couldn't help but think how accomplished and proud the author must feel in writing such a brilliant book. I can't wait to read more of his work. Great stuff!
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