Pam's Reviews > Putting Makeup on Dead People

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
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's review
Jun 06, 11

Donna is on the cusp of adulthood but is still trying to get over the loss of her father. After the death of a classmate she realizes that she is drawn to the funeral home and is interested in learning more about becoming a mortician. As she explores her options for the future she realizes she must confront her grief from the past in order to move on.

Adolescence is such a difficult time of change when teens must choose their careers and face life after high school. Jen Violi has captured the difficulty of this time so well in this book, it is a wonderful primer on how to deal with making choices even when they go against everything your parent wants.

Donna is a complex and well developed character. She faces a difficult choice of pleasing a parent or choosing a career that makes her happy. The courage she displays in making a choice that endangers the relationship with her remaining parent was remarkable. The way she grew while dealing with her unresolved grief made me want to reach in and hug her. The secondary characters are also well developed and interesting, making this a very well rounded book.

The main topic was strange for a YA book - handling the dead. The author has opened a window into a world not often explored. And it is a fascinating world where the art involved in caring for the dead is explored. It makes it clear that death is something we all must deal with and makes one thankful for those who care for our loved ones after death.

Grief is also with here but not the main theme of the book. This is a wonderful book about making difficult choices and the rewards that are there when one seeks them.


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