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Domestic Violets

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,680 ratings  ·  647 reviews
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 m
Paperback, 329 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Harper Perennial
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Community Reviews

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Ugh... OK, I am starting to lose my patience for contemporary novels starring this guy: handsome, comfortably successful/family money, precocious child/ren, hot, intelligent wife (whom he is bored/stifled/misunderstood by, ALWAYS), approaching 40, and life is just like, so hard! And like, no one "gets" me! And what if I'm like, not fulfilled by my hot wife and beautiful family and lovely home? BOOHOO, ENDURE MY HANDSOME MIDLIFE ANGST! It's just... enough out of you, guy. Why are you in every nov ...more
Tom Violet is my new literary superhero. This man is fan-fucking-tastic. He’s a god among the rest of us mere mortals with his smartass attitude, literary pedigree (his dad is Curtis Violet, the greatest writer of the modern era, at least according to himself), ability to attract women more than ten years his junior, obsession with great exit lines, and he’s capable of more one-liners than a basket full of fortune cookies. His dad may have a bit of a drinking problem, but he’s a Pulitzer prize-w ...more
I love Tom Violet. I love his personality, his love of family and his ability to use sarcasm to his advantage, mainly towards people he doesn't care for. Not since Jess Riley's DRIVING SIDEWAYS have I enjoyed such snarkiness. Granted, he uses the snarkiness to make up for his lack of confidence, but he does it in a way that makes you root for him. Well, it was that way for me, anyway. I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the less than significant ones because they were easy to beli ...more
The Short of It:

Domesticity gone wild!

The Rest of It:

Tom Violet is your typical office dweller. Unsatisfied with his job, he takes great pleasure in deconstructing the ridiculousness around him. But times are tough and the economy has tanked and with a wife and daughter to support, he’s glad to have a job. His real dream though is to be a writer. In fact he has written a secret novel, but with his own father just winning the Pulitzer, he’s hesitant to share his work. Struggling to get through th
Sara Strand
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 th
It seems like every book I've been reading by male authors lately should just be called PENIS PENIS PENIS.

The first 1/4 to 1/3 was just a terrible ode to penises, but I'm glad I kept reading. I really liked the last half of the book.
Yvann S
"When Lyle is gone and I've hung up the phone, I'm faced with the grim prospect of having do my job and write some more corporate propaganda."

Tom Violet, 35, married to the beautiful and compassionate Anna and father of the adorable Allie, is a copywriter who is singularly uninspired by his job. To make matters worse, his adulterous, pot-smoking father has just won the Pulitzer Prize. So Tom's debut novel, slaved over in secret for years, looks like a non-starter. Oh, and he's struggling in bed,
Karin Muller
I must admit, I was a bit reluctant to read this book. 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 h
One of life's greatest pleasures is reading a debut novel and absolutely loving it. It's thrilling to discover a new talent and be able to proclaim to everyone you know- "You MUST read this book by this new author. It's fantastic!"

A lot of people have been talking about Matthew Norman's debut novel, Domestic Violets, and since they were people whose judgement I trust, I was hopeful. I opened the book and read the novel in two sittings. It lives up to the hype, a delightful surprise for me.

Tom Vi
Somewhere between the hilarious and light-hearted moments – and there are many in this marvelous debut by Matthew Norman – it dawned on me: there’s something downright tender and redemptive about this book.

Domestic Violets brings to mind other enjoyable authors – Jonathan Tropper, Steve Hely (How I Became A Famous Novelist) and Joshua Ferris (And Then We Came to An End). The author might cringe at these comparisons, since one of the key themes is finding one’s own voice. So let me reassure: alth
Michelle Sallay
Originally on my blog:

There is a scene in Sex And The City when Carrie meets Burger and finds out he is an author who "relates to men the way her writing relates to women." And then Burger makes some comment how men don't want to read books like that. Do you know that scene? Every time I watch it I wish that weren't true, that there were more books by men that were light funny books about what it was like to be a guy. So discovering Domestic Violets, a chance t
Dani Peloquin
When I finished this book, I realized that I had been waiting for it for over five years without even knowing. Norman is able to create the perfect recipe that includes laughs, tears, heartache, and forgiveness. I rarely say this, but this novel has it all! Therefore, I recommend it to all.

Tom is tired of his work as a copywriter and can see his marriage slipping away from him but he is helpless to do anything. When his father wins the Pulitzer Prize, Tom's problems grow exponentially. Curtis Vi
Tom Violet is a 35 year old man married with one child who has a job he feels is crushing his soul. He also has a famous father whose marital troubles are a constant hassle and a novel that he has just finished that he wants to get published. On top of all of this he is experiencing marital problems of his own. He is afraid his wife is having an affair and he is attracted to his young assistant. This is the story of Tom trying to get through all of the difficulties he is facing and finally doing ...more
Dear Matthew Norman,

You’ve written a fantastic, entertaining book about a great character. The picture of you on the back is very attractive and I’ve had a great track record with men from Omaha. Why don’t you forget your wife and kids and come here to Philadelphia and be mine? I’m single and old enough that I’m not really a twentysomething harlot. Also: I have big boobs.


Ugh, this book is practically perfect. It’s everything I wanted This is Where I Leave You to be: funny without
I heart Tom Violet! He is my first bookish crush. He's smart, creative, funny, and flawed - just the type of guy you want to marry and have babies with (yes, I still want to marry him in spite of that night with Katie). Tom is such a realistically drawn out character: he's struggling with his marriage; battling his arch nemesis, Gregory, at work; crushing on his assistant Katie; and dealing with the fact that his father, the famous Curtis Violet, has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. You ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Tom Violet is having a bad day, well, actually a bad life. His sex life is down the drain, his famous father just won the Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote years ago, he has a dead end job and HIS book will never be published. When his father shows up in his home (actually his father owns the house Tom lives in) states he just left his wife and proceeds to get drunk, Tom really thinks it can't get any worse. Then his mother's husband, Gary shows up as well. If all this sounds depressing, it rea ...more
Danielle Plafsky
I really loved this book. Finished it in about 2 days. I just moved, and I'm commuting by train for the first time in a about a year, and reading this made the new commute actually pleasant. It's funny, poignant, heartfelt, uplifting. I'm a sucker for books about people writing books which is part of why I liked this so much. Tom Violet is hysterical and sometimes so absurd but really likable. I like Matthew’s writing style a lot, and reading his Q&A and essay in the p.s. section in the back ...more
Jun 01, 2012 Lucy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I actually think it's perfectly fair that Jennifer Weiner doesn't get her books reviewed in the New York Times. What isn't fair is that books like this about men having a mid-life crisis and wanting to sleep with their hot young coworker (but it's okay because their wife is doing the same) don't all get stuck in a dick lit ghetto with interchangeable covers emblazoned with cars and dogs and glasses of bourbon. This cover wouldn't make a bad template, actually.
A really fun and funny read. I found myself laughing out loud at times and looking forward to reading it whenever I got the chance. I think it's probably hard to pull off a funny book (I don't normally read humor) but I think Matthew Norman was totally able to pull it off. If you want a fun, quick read, this is the one.

If I could describe Domestic Violets in one word, it would be: hilarious.

If I could use two, they’d be: brutally honest

Matthew Norman’s Everyman tale of Thomas Violet, a D.C. copywriter, is anything but regular. In a story that reads like a cross between Office Space and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Norman seriously nails his first novel.

Stuck in a dead-end, lack luster job, Violet is forever in the shadow of his famous, prize-winning writer of a dad and in const
Linda Baker
Domestic Violets has been on my TBR list (compliments of so I decided to read it this Hurricane Irene weekend. To be honest, I had read a few pages earlier but was put off by the beginning, which features an episode of erectile dysfunction. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I tend to think erectile dysfunction belongs neither in a book I want to read, nor as ads placed in televised golf matches! Despite a slow start, I soon found myself chuckling and caught up in Tom's various dilemmas.

This was not a book I would have picked up had it not been recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trust. I am so glad that I did pick it up, because I devoured it compulsively in one sitting. The protagonist Tom Violet is a slightly-better-than-average guy with a job he hates, a wife and daughter he loves, and a famous father with whom he has an uneasy relationship. The novel made me wish I could be friends with Tom Violet so I could daily partake of his humorous work-rants, but also so I ...more
Tom Violet is a thirty-something husband and father working at a thankless corporate job in Washington DC. He’s just finished writing a book and although he’s too unsure of himself to actually show it to anyone, he dreams of becoming a famous novelist. It just so happens that his father, Curtis, IS a famous novelist and has just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

It’s getting harder for Tom to stomach his life in the corporate world and to make matters worse, he and his wife haven’t been communi
Christa  Seeley
This review originally posted at

It just doesn't seem like life could get any more tedious for Tom Violet. His job sucks, his marriage seems to be at a stand still, his celebrity father has left yet another wife and it seems like his step mother is stalking him. To top it all off he's finally finished his novel and he's just not sure what to do with it. Is he having a midlife crisis? That would be putting it lightly!

This debut novel is a hilarious look at the life of a man who's just trying to f
Domestic Violets is a great suprise - funny, tender and poignant and with more than a few plot twists, a terrific debut from Matthew Norman.

Tom Violet is disgruntled, with his job, his sex life and his dysfunctional family. If it's not a problem in the bedroom, it's with his co-workers and boss (Violet is a copywriter for MSW, a consulting organization that is never clearly defined, largely because no one seems to actually know what they do). Additionally, his father - who left when Tom was youn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman is written very frankly and is told from the point of view of corporate cube dweller Tom Violet, whose father just happens to be the famous writer Curtis Violet who has just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Tom is having marriage problems, hates his corporate job as a copywriter, and continues to have daddy issues; he’s on the precipice. At work, he cuts into his enemy Greg every chance he gets and flirts with his underling, copywriter Katie. He’s filling hi ...more
I really teetered on giving this book a three, but at about the midway point I decided that I was reading something quite good. It was funny, endearing, and one of those books that is hard to put down because the characters are so engaging.

This first novel by Matthew Norman explored first and foremost the relationship of the protagonist, Tom, to his well known, women chasing Pulitzer prize winning father. Tom tries to be someone and at the age of thirty five, but finds himself less than what he
Bennett Gavrish
Grade: B-

L/C Ratio: 70% Literary / 30% Commercial

Thematic Breakdown:
25% - Writing
20% - Corporate America
15% - Infidelity
15% - Fatherhood
10% - Sex
10% - Humor
5% - Washington DC

Addictiveness: Medium
Movie Potential: 1 Thumb Down
Re-readability: Low

Domestic Violets opens with an internal monologue about the narrator's malfunctioning penis. It's a scene that sets a comedic, yet emotional tone for the rest of the novel and lets Matthew Norman showcase his vibrant literary voice. From there, the plot an
One of the characters in Domestic Violets remarks that most first novels are autobiographical. Whether or not they’re autobiographical, it seems to me that a lot of first novels tend to be reminiscent of other people’s novels. That’s not meant to say that they can be derivative; it’s more likely due to the fact that a new author doesn’t have an established record yet, so he or she really can’t be easily evaluated against his own catalog. This can work either for or against them, depending on the ...more
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.29: Domestic Violets 7 46 Nov 24, 2014 06:50AM  
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Matthew Norman is an advertising copywriter. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Baltimore. His first novel, Domestic Violets, was nominated in the Best Humor Category at the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards.
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“I instantly like people who laugh at my jokes. It's a weakness of mine.” 9 likes
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