Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Domestic Violets” as Want to Read:
Domestic Violets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Domestic Violets

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,886 ratings  ·  913 reviews
In the tradition of Jonathan Tropper and Tom Perrotta comes Matthew Norman's Domestic Violets—a darkly comic family drama about one man’s improbable trials of love, loss, and ambition; of attraction, impotence, and infidelity; and of mid-life malaise, poorly-planned revenge, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Paperback, 329 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Harper Perennial
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Domestic Violets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Domestic Violets

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,886 ratings  ·  913 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Domestic Violets
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Don’t feel like reading a review? Join the club, because I don’t really feel too keen about writing picturing one up either. Here’s the short version for any of you who have better things to do today . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

For the three of you who are still here, let’s have a go with what exactly brought the “meh” factor for me when it came to Domestic Violets.

Let’s start with how I even discovered this book in the first place. My friend Melki was
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book and would have given it four stars, had I not hated the ending so much. The characters were wonderful, including the dog, but especially the father. By the end, I wanted something positive to happen to the main character but I think something bad happened to him, only it was painted in a positive light.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Vonetta
This had its moments. I love it when a book makes me laugh. The parts about the corporate workplace were the best. There are times when I ask my husband to tell me the latest corporate bullshit jargon and it never disappoints (buy-in, core values, drinking the Kool-Aid, move the needle, we'll park that, scalable, burning platform). See? How can people say these things with a straight face? That shit is entertaining. Like this book. This is a perfectly delightful story about an aspiring writer on ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Tom Violet is a 35 year old man going through a midlife crisis. He is unhappy in both his personal and professional lives. He and his wife are having problems. He lives in his father's shadow. He works in corporate hell and has a work nemesis.

Tom is not a likable character. He is selfish and cocky, but I still wanted his life to come together. His work nemesis and corporate job provide nice comedy, while is personal relationships are more emotional and real.

An engrossing read. Dark. Humorous.
Sara Strand
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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:
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
I must confess- the reason I didn't like this book is not so much due to a failing on the part of the author, but due to a failing on my own part, a failure of compassion. I am no longer able to summon up sympathy for the plight of the wealthy middle-aged healthy white American man who finds himself inconveniently bored, not only by his inherent privilege and lack of struggle, but also by his lovely, faithful wife who has dared to age at the same rate as our protagonist and thus shouldn't be ...more
Dani Peloquin
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Karin Muller
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Yvann S
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
"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,
Michelle Sallay
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, on-my-blog, own
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
Sarah Robarge
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was very puzzled when I got to the end of the book why I didn't like it. The storytelling was decent and had some original characters. The first few chapters were funny, unfortunately, the last 2/3 of the book not as much. It was a page-turner. So why when I got to the end of the book did I find it troubling? I was very perplexed.

The day after I finished, I realized that I don't know that if I have ever read a more misogynistic book. In my opinion, Matthew Norman must have a very objectified
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, amazon-vine
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 ...more
Sarah Brown
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
I have so many thoughts about this book that I hardly know where to start. I thought maybe I should give it a day or two to let my thoughts settle, but then I was like ... no, I don't think I want to keep thinking about this book that hard. And that makes it sound like I didn't like it, and that's not really right. But usually I start these reviews with a star rating, and this one, I just can't. I'll decide at the end.

So, starting at the beginning, I picked this book because I felt like I had
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: almost-favorites
What a great, fun ride. Authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Kashuo Ishiguro have done wonders for the unreliable narrator; Matthew Norman does an awesome--often hilarious--job of bringing the reliable narrator to life in the glorious form of wiseass copywriter Tom Violet. One who has a sarcastic answer for everything, yet couldn't be more honest or relatable when it comes to his own inadequacies. You root for Tom because Tom is every man. ...and by "every man" I mean a thirty-something who is at a ...more
Larry H
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love it when books surprise me. Quite often while reading Domestic Violets, Matthew Norman's terrific debut novel, I expected the plot to go in a certain direction and I was disappointed that the book would head in that direction, but Norman's storytelling ability surprised me nearly every time. This is one of those books that made me sad when I finished it, because in the few short days it took me to read the book, I became very invested in the characters and their lives.

Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
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
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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny
I can see how you have to enjoy a certain type of sense of humor to really get this book! For me I found it to be witty and fun book to read! Hope others can see the laugh out loud moments of work hell and oh my god!--the dog, let alone just life! Easy read for me!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.29: Domestic Violets 7 50 Nov 24, 2014 06:50AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • How to Talk to a Widower
  • Everything Changes
  • Plan B
  • The Book of Joe
  • The Financial Lives of the Poets
  • Joe College
  • This is Where I Leave You
  • One Last Thing Before I Go
  • Not Famous
  • Truth in Advertising
  • The Zero
  • Postgraduate
  • There's a Word for That
  • Land of the Blind (Caroline Mabry, #2)
  • War of the Realms: Journey Into Mystery
  • 10 Little Ninjas
  • Little Girl Lost (A Riveting Kidnapping Mystery Series Book 7)
  • Almost Gone (The Au Pair—Book One)
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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.
“I instantly like people who laugh at my jokes. It's a weakness of mine.” 13 likes
“The captain of a ship can run a great ship, but he can't do anything about the tides.” 12 likes
More quotes…