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Putting Makeup on Dead People Hardcover – May 24, 2011
Top Customer Reviews
This story had a satisfying completeness that didn't feel gimicky or forced. At first I couldn't easily reconcile Donna's flair for humor and sarcasm with her angst about what and who to be. But as I read, and the character took shape, it not only became very believable, but Donna is well-done sketch of how most of us walk around with walls and barriers and conflicting sides of us. We can be hard-edged but hurting inside. We have hidden good parts of us that only some people can see. We struggle to honor our gifts and that pull from inside that tugs us towards something bigger and better.
Violi illustrates so well a character that takes emotional risks and ignores conventions, but not so easily, which is what makes the story work so well.
These are universal struggles, and in this book, these ideas, and more, are beautifully and humorously expressed through the voice of a teenager who experienced great loss and is hungering to transform into a person she secretly knows she can be.
This is a nice contemporary coming of age novel with an interesting premise. I enjoyed reading about Donna's life and the mortuary industry. It's nice reading a book about a teenager who is moving into adulthood and while experiencing bumps along the way, she ultimately knows what they want and work towards it. This isn't a sweet and cute story but rather a coming of age novel about a girl moving through life after the death of her father.
Appropriateness: There is quite a bit of adult content in this book. Donna fumbles through a couple relationships which become sexual (although there are no erotic descriptions), there is drinking and drunkenness. Donna is an older teen and behaves like one. I would recommend this book to older teenagers 15+
ARC received from netgalley.
The only thing that startled me about the book as I was reading it was it being written in present tense. I can see that's a trend in newer fiction, but it's still a little unsettling to read.
The time period of the setting isn't clear, but it didn't bother me; it merely means the book will age well, without any forced terminology updates like other authors' work (like Judy Blume's) has undergone.
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys YA fiction, whether it's an actual young adult or an adult (like me) who enjoys being transported back to when everything was so much more intense and vital.
It was so easy to forget, when I was reading this book, that Putting Makeup on Dead People is Jen Violi's first novel. The prose is so liquid and the emotions so honest. I loved the idea of the novel - Donna finding her way out of grief and into the happier life she was meant to live - and the way the themes of transformation, and of the ritual of letting go to move forward were so expertly and seamlessly woven into the cloth of the story. Donna's transformation doesn't happen overnight, but no one recovers from a profound and crippling grief in a few days or a few weeks and Donna's slow movement into the rest of her life felt right.
One of the best things about this book is how well Ms. Violi handles the sensitive subjects of death and mortuary science. As one of Donna's teachers puts it, Americans are experts at doing everything they can to avoid death, even though it is the one thing in life that's guaranteed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jen Violi is profoundly adept with her word choice and subject matter. This should be required reading for all students over the age of thirteen.Published 20 months ago by M.E. Marks
I could never be a mortician, but that didn't stop me from reading about one! In Putting Makeup on Dead People, Donna is just kind of floating through life. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Angie
The unusual premise of this book was fully realized, but many other things were well depicted too -- the protagonist's relationship with her mother, introduction to sexual... Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Spring Texan
A topic that I have never read about in a young adult book before, Putting Makeup on Dead People has a slightly morbid title but deals with Donna as she realizes she wants to be a... Read morePublished on June 8, 2013 by S Day
I liked the references to my old stomping grounds in Dayton too, and around these places, Jen created a rich story that made me laugh and cry.Published on May 6, 2013 by Kindle Customer
This is an absolutely wonderful book. Beautifully written, heartfelt, important and bold, Violi easily avoids anything cliche or expected here, while still delivering a powerful... Read morePublished on May 5, 2012 by 1979 Semi-Finalist
This book was just ok for me. I was initially drawn to the cover, isn't it pretty? And the idea of someone going to mortuary school. Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by Autumn "From the TBR Pile"
A relatable, young adult book that may help give some insight when facing a rough patch of "whatever" when comparing yourself to the main character Donna. Read morePublished on December 9, 2011 by Rita Book
I really didn't know what to expect when I started reading Putting Makeup on Dead People, Jen Violi's debut young adult novel. Read morePublished on November 26, 2011 by TheReaderBee